Superintendent addresses Ardrey Kell, other CMS incidents

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox is responding to several incidents the district is dealing with ranging from about 500 Ardrey Kell High School students getting kicked out of a recent Friday night football game to a substitute teacher caught on tape claiming he is a racist.

A student posted a video of South Mecklenburg High School substitute teacher Gary Atta telling a student to speak English in his class and to go back to Mexico.

"I was horrified when I saw the clip," Wilcox said.

Charlotte's new top educator thinks CMS does a good job on background checks but realizes checks can only provide so much. He thinks now is the time for the district to re-evaluate its hiring practices.

"We're going to take a look at our processes and procedures," Wilcox said. "I think we have to get better. We owe it to our community."

The superintendent says he has also reviewed how the Ardrey Kell High School principal responded to students who were drunk, cussing, high on drugs, and yelling racial comments during a recent Friday night football game. The principal kicked out students from the entire student section of the game. Wilcox says the principal was effective but could have acted sooner.

"One of the things we would do is try to pick out more individual kids without emptying out the bleachers," Wilcox said. "What happened is there are a series of little things that happened first that we should have cued in on rather than let it get to the point where we had to empty it out."

The superintendent was also asked did Ardrey Kell High School students get off the hook because of the location of the school and the demographics of the students. Wilcox said he hopes students are fairly disciplined the same across all schools. When asked why there weren't any arrests, he says he wants administrators to try to deal with unruly students first.

"Once they call the police it's out their hands," Wilcox said.

The superintendent is also taking a stand on student athletes who may take a knee during the National Anthem. 
"If our kids chose to express themselves peacefully," Wilcox said. "We are going to accept that. We are not going to promote that - we are not going to embrace it, but we understand they have a constitutional right to do that."

The superintendent believes there is a bigger picture concerning the National Anthem controversy.

"What we need to do is all America needs to make this a society where people don't feel the need for that type of protest," Wilcox said. "And I think that is what's being lost."

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