GIBSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's governor and chief justice are encouraging each county to create a partnership between schools and law enforcement to help students who commit minor offices stay out of court.

Gov. Roy Cooper and Chief Justice Cheri Beasley spoke about the partnerships Monday in Gibsonville before they appeared at a Back to School Safety Summit in Greensboro. Eight counties have the partnerships, and more than 30 others are developing them.

Each partnership develops an agreement that establishes guidelines for addressing student misconduct without court or law enforcement involvement.

In North Carolina, school-based referrals make up about 40% of the referrals to the juvenile justice system. Most of these referrals are for minor, nonviolent transgressions. In the 2016-2017 school year, 8% of school-based referrals were for serious offenses.

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