CMS Superintendent Tackles ‘Student Violence Crisis’, Orders Transparent Backpacks For High Schools

CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg are facing a crisis of student violence. This is the message from school leaders after another incident at a local high school.

Authorities said one person was arrested after an incident involving pepper spray on Friday at Harding University High School. After an increase in brawls and guns on campus, principals have released new details on what they plan to do to keep students safe.

A message was sent to parents at Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools on Friday indicating that see-through backpacks had been ordered for high schools in the area. These bags are not expected to arrive here until February 2022.

School leaders stress that random security checks have been doubled and that a team is working on setting up a tool allowing students to make anonymous reports.

School officials said that while they have spoken with the makers of the metal detectors and wands, they are still working on the next steps. Below is the full message sent to CMS families on Friday:

“Hello CMS families,

This is Superintendent Earnest Winston. The news of this week’s tragic school shooting in Michigan is disturbing and strikes near our homes as we see an increase in school fighting and more guns on our campuses. This is unacceptable. We are facing a crisis of student aggression and violence within our community and our schools. Firearms have no place in schools or in the hands of children.

Yesterday I met with the District Attorney, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief, the Sheriff, the United States Attorney’s Office, district court judges, and city and county leaders to discuss solutions to this growing crisis.

Recently, I led a working group to assess all possible options for our schools and develop and prioritize short and long term solutions. We ordered transparent backpacks for high school and were told delivery is delayed until February. We have dedicated a team to setting up a tool allowing middle and high school students to report anonymously. We have doubled the number of random security checks in our high schools.

We spoke with manufacturers of screening equipment about metal detectors and rods to determine next steps. We have engaged with city and county partners to share strategies like the Alternative to Violence program that extend to the community. There is more work to be done.

We are all concerned about the safety of our students and staff. Addressing this crisis is a top priority, and we will communicate more actions as our team takes a holistic approach to new school safety measures and preventing further violence. “

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