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CRHS Student serves on Mayoral Task Force

“We (Principal Carlos Ramirez and I) had no doubt that Jason would be perfect,” said Miranda Danku, American History and IB Psychology teacher and National Honor Society Adviser for Cedar Ridge High School.

You see, after being encouraged to apply for a unique opportunity by Ramirez and Danku, Jason Knapp, a junior at CRHS was appointed to serve on the Mayoral Task Force for the Town of Hillsborough.

“He (Jason) is a justice- and civic-minded kid,” added Danku. “He is very social; he is a bright light, and he is mature and easy to talk to … He’s just a good kid with a good future.”

Last year, the Hillsborough Board of Commissioners formed this task force in response to social issues stemming from the Black Lives Matter Movement and the killing of George Floyd. Danku said that this task force was created to have bold discussions and to take steps to help the citizens in the community of Hillsborough and surrounding areas to feel safer, which even includes efforts to rethink the way police operate.

Jason was thrilled to be selected to serve because he has a real chance to make an impact upon the lives of the people in his own community.

Jason had this to say:

Hillsborough is already one of the most progressive communities in North Carolina, so the policies that we have the opportunity to implement could help set the precedent for the rest of the state in terms of how we reimagine public safety moving forward. I hope that I can represent my community, and Cedar Ridge High School, well throughout the time that I will be on this task force. 

I hope that we can implement new policies that reflect the diverse needs of our community. We need to reimagine public safety, and policing, as a system that all people can trust, not live in fear of. I also want to place an emphasis on our schools and the needs of our youth. Students are the future of our community, and public safety, so an increase in funding, or some sort of policy change to reflect the needs of teachers, students, and other school workers such as counselors and nurses would be satisfactory. 

At its January meeting, topics of discussion centered upon mental health, and included:

  1. Restructuring public safety as it pertained to people dealing with mental health concerns 
  2. Hillsborough Police Department’s current response to mental health incidents, use of force rate during those interactions 
  3. Methods that other are communities are using around the country to deal with mental health incidents

“We want to look at public safety and policing from many different aspects, and this one (a mental health focus) was just the one that came first,” Jason added.

Here is a link to the January 14, 2021 meeting: