NAACP calling on CMS to address COVID-19’s impact on students’ behavioral issues

The group addressed their concerns during a briefing Tuesday morning at Harding University High School.
Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 6:35 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2021 at 6:28 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg chapter of the NAACP is calling on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to do more to protect kids from COVID-19 and help them deal with the impacts of the pandemic.

The group addressed their concerns during a briefing Tuesday morning at Harding University High School.

One thing the NAACP wants is for CMS, and the community at large, to focus more on how COVID has impacted students mentally and emotionally, especially Black and Brown students, who they say are overrepresented when it comes to low-performing schools within the district.

“What we know is that it’s our responsibility to roll up our sleeves and to get engaged and get involved. And we’re doing it because we love the people of Charlotte. More importantly, we love the children of Charlotte,” said the NAACP Charlotte-Mecklenburg Chapter President, Corine Mack.”

They want a program that will address the mental and emotional impacts of bringing students and staff together, in large groups, after they were apart for more than a year.

“They’re no longer bringing apples to the classroom for the teachers. They’re bringing guns to shoot each other and settle disputes,” said Annette Albright, the education chair for the NAACP.

CMPD said in an email that since the beginning of the schools year, they have assisted in the seizure of five handguns, one pellet gun, and five cutting instruments. They also added that there have been four juveniles arrested while three other students are being processed through the Juvenile Diversion program.

“They’re totally disengaged from education. But what they have been doing is having a lot of spats and arguments over social media,” Albright said.

The NAACP is suggesting community being done outside the schools, should be done inside the schools too. They mentioned it could look similar to the Alternatives to Violence program that launched in the Beatties Ford neighborhood.

“There was a 14-year-old kid charged with murder, when are we going to wake up? A 14-year-old charged with murder,” said Belton Platt, the site supervisor for the Alternatives to Violence Program.

Platt is speaking about a recent homicide where a 16-year-old was killed, and a 14-year-old was charged with the murder.

MORE: 14-year-old boy charged with murder after 16-year-old killed, two others hurt in north Charlotte shooting

“It’s crazy because all I saw was two African Americans. One killed one and the other charged with it. This has to stop. This has to stop,” he said. “That’s a pandemic. We need to give attention to that pandemic, the destruction of the youth. The destruction of our community.”

The NAACP says what happens in the streets ends up happening in the schools. They say they are meeting with CMS leadership and hope to bring their program, Circles of Care, into schools. The program would work with teens and their parents to address issues regarding violence.

NAACP members said also said the district’s safety protocols in place don’t go far enough.

Currently, masks are required in CMS school buildings and buses, regardless of vaccination status. Plus, if anyone tests positive for the virus cannot come to school for 10 days. Anyone who had close contact with a positive person is notified as soon as possible.

Quarantine, however, may not be required for everyone if schools can figure out if those students and/or staff wore masks.

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