North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt (D) has announced a comprehensive violence prevention program in the state’s public schools that will employ a toll-free student tip line, a web site, and an awareness campaign.

The program is called Working Against Violence Everywhere, or WAVE. It is the result of recommendations from the governor’s Task Force on Youth Violence and School Safety.

Pinkerton Services Group, a division of the international security firm Pinkerton Inc., will staff and operate the toll-free line (1-888-960-9600), on which any student, parent, or school staff member can notify authorities of school violence concerns.

The phone line will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Pinkerton and the Raleigh-based Center for the Prevention of School Violence have developed a contact list of school and law enforcement personnel in each of the state’s school districts who can be contacted if needed because of hot-line tips.

“A safe school environment is fundamental to helping North Carolina’s students succeed in school, and to making our public schools first in America by 2010,” Hunt told more than 900 Ligon Middle School students in announcing the program Feb. 10.

“Every school ought to be a safe one, and WAVE America will help get every kid involved,” the governor said. “This program is more than just a tip line—it teaches students and parents to look for the early signs of violent behavior and to resolve conflicts constructively.”

As part of the awareness campaign, brochures will be sent to every parent and student detailing the early warning signs of school violence, and a web site has been set up at http://www.waveamerica.com.

Hunt’s office said that since the 1993-94 school year, the violence rate in North Carolina schools has dropped 19 percent and the number of guns brought to school has fallen 65 percent. Since 1995, the number of juveniles arrested for murder in North Carolina reportedly is down 28 percent.