Community considers metal detectors after guns found at schools

Parents, leaders discuss metal detectors

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Conversation with community members about guns found on Charlotte-Mecklenburg school campuses all seems to lead to one topic, eventually – school metal detectors.

“I don’t know what else the school can do to make the school safer, other than putting metal detectors at the doors,” CMS mom Sherika Kemp says.

Many parents like Kemp go back and forth about how to best keep their children safe, wondering if metal detectors are the answer, or if they take safety measures too far.

The National Center for Education Statistics cites just four percent of public schools using the machines for random checks.

“That kind of gives me a prison feel,” Kemp says. “To think that you have to come into the school where they’re supposed to be safe, and have to get checked with a metal detector, so it’s a catch 22.”

Seven guns have been found on CMS campuses so far, in the less than three months of this school year. One killed a 16-year-old just weeks ago. On that day, we heard a conflicted superintendent.

"I don't know right now that it would make a great deal of sense for us to have metal detectors or wands at every one of our doors,” Clayton Wilcox said at a press conference that day. “There are multiple doorways. It's something we have to talk a lot about and try to get to a decision."

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney tells WBTV, he believes it’s time.

“Every major city I go to, it’s pretty common practice,” he says. “I know people worry about the psyche of kids. I’m more concerned with the safety.”

Tuesday, the concentration of guns found ignited the conversation. Those detectors are now on young minds as well.

"I know a lot of students are worried about, ‘I don't want my school to feel like a prison,’” student Righteous Keitt says. “But at the end of the day, I would rather feel safe than feel like anybody can come in with a gun in their book bag and kill me."

After today’s incidents, the school district said, “CMS will announce additional measures to help keep guns out of schools and campuses safe very soon.”

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