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‘They are concerned:’ mental health therapist says weapons on campus, fights affecting CMS students

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 7:35 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In the last two weeks, three guns have been found on multiple Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools campuses.

Five minors are in custody after two guns were recovered from Hopewell High School in Huntersville on Wednesday.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials confirmed 15 guns have been found on multiple CMS campuses since August 26.

“They are concerned, they’re afraid,” said mental health therapist Charryse Johnson.

Charryse Johnson is a licensed clinical mental health therapist in Charlotte, NC.

Johnson counsels CMS students and shared several grief support services for students after a student was shot and killed at Butler High School in 2018.

Johnson says she’s noticed an upward trend of violence within CMS schools.

A public records request revealed nearly 100 weapons have been found on campus this school year including guns, knives, box cutters, and tasers.

It’s a problem, CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston says will only get solved with parent and community support.

“It takes all of us and the expectation begins at home, expectations begin in the community about what is and what is not allowable on our campuses,” Winston said.

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Of the 15 guns found, six have been discovered at West Charlotte. In addition to Hopewell, South Mecklenburg, Mallard Creek, Myers Park, Garinger, Charles Parker, West Mecklenburg, South Mecklenburg high schools have had one gun each found on school property.

NC Attorney General Josh Stein says he was aware of the 15 guns brought to campus and says violence in schools is unacceptable and needs to be tackled head-on.

“We as policymakers, whether it’s school superintendents, elected officials, the district attorney, law enforcement we have to work together to attack this problem,” Stein said.

Johnson says many students tell her they don’t trust state leaders, district leaders, or their peers when it comes to safety.

“With that [trust] broken, it leaves people feeling like they need to take things into their own hands which might be why some students are bringing guns to school,” Johnson said.

Johnson says even students who don’t attend the affected schools are still feeling the mental and emotional impact which is known as secondary trauma.

“Students start seeing their peers threatened, hurt, or seeing their lives taken away it changes that kind of hope that we would love to see all of our students have about their future,” Johnson said.

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