CMS superintendent plans to request safety upgrades in new budget proposal

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Community leaders and members of the public packed a small classroom in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Tuesday night for a town hall meeting about school safety.

Charlotte City Council member Dimple Ajmera hosted the meeting which featured a few guest speakers and a panel discussion with educators and activists concerned about school safety.

Maddie Syfert was one of the only high school students present at the meeting. Syfert is concerned about her safety and the safety of her classmates at Myers Park High School. The high school senior is hoping for the school system to make positive changes to help protect students.

"I wanna see them actually take action instead of just having meetings. That's a good step but I wanna see things really happening," said Syfert.

The meeting lasted nearly two hours and touched on various aspects of school safety.

An officer from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spoke about the safety training that is being offered to educators. Congresswoman Alma Adams delivered a message via video that tougher gun laws are needed in America.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Chief Communications Officer Tracy Russ spoke about changes the district is hoping to make to keep kids safe.

"You know we're in the business of educating children and the safety of those children is absolutely top priority," said Russ in an interview after the meeting.

Russ said CMS' superintendent, Dr. Clayton Wilcox, will be going in front of school board members Wednesday night to discuss the CMS budget with some specific safety requests.

"You'll see a spectrum of options including some technology options, some staffing options, training and procedural options," explained Russ.

He said the requests will include an investment in student support for employees like guidance counselors and school psychologists. He said Wilcox will also ask for more technology and facility improvements to increase safety on school campuses.

Russ said the school system also plans to continue working with the CMPD to provide additional mandatory employee safety training.

Syfert was pleased to hear about the requests. She hopes the community can continue working together to help keep students safe.

"I think if local school, local government, state government, national government come together we can make not only schools but everywhere safer," said Syfert.

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