‘What do we do to keep our kids safe’: CMS parent, community organizations say more needs to be done following another school lockdown

Starting next week at Hopewell High School, parent volunteers will monitor the hallways and clear out bathrooms during transition times.
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 6:23 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Frustration and concerns from parents and community organizations are growing after West Mecklenburg High School’s lockdown on Wednesday.

West Mecklenburg High School was briefly placed on lockdown Wednesday afternoon because of a large fight in the parking lot of the school, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

The principal says there were rumors of a gun on campus.

Police searched the school and didn’t find any guns but two students were caught with knives. Both minors were arrested and charged.

West Meck parent Chaquan Walkup tried her hardest to stay calm Wednesday.

“It’s always going to send you into a panic because it’s kids, but when it’s at your school and you’ve already had these thoughts because it’s been going on last week,” Walkup said.

This comes after two guns were found at Hopewell High School last week, bringing the total to 15 guns found on school campuses since August.

“A lot of people don’t feel safe but at this point what do we do to keep our kids safe?” Walkup said.

Walkup says city and county leaders need to invest more money into school safety and resources as a proactive measure.

“They find money to do rail cars and condos and all this different stuff that we’re trying to do to make Charlotte look bigger and make it look Iike the bigger cities but we can’t find anything to do to make the schools safer,” Walkup said. “That’s one of the biggest things maybe if we had metal detectors we would be able to detect some of this stuff on these kids instead of finding it after the situations happen when it could’ve been a lot worse.”

Starting next week at Hopewell High School, parent volunteers will monitor the hallways and bathrooms during transition times.

It’s a pilot program based on a parent-run program called Dads on Duty in Louisiana.

Related: New parent led programs at Hopewell High School after guns were recovered

West Meck parent, and Team TruBlue member, Yulonda Johnson says CMS doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel.

“It’s about everybody understanding that there are some people that are willing to get out there and do whatever it takes to fight for these children but they’re already right there. They’re already in CMS,” Johnson said.

For the last eight years, Team TruBlue has walked the halls and cafeterias of multiple CMS schools providing mentorship, scholarships, and a reminder for kids to stay out of trouble.

Johnson says it’s going to take everyone to stop the violence.

“There needs to be a program that utilizes these organizations along with other volunteers that are willing and that entire circle needs to include parents, individuals from the community that is willing, and a lot of feedback from students,” Johnson said.

“It’s a two-way street the kids have to be willing to do better as well,” Walkup said.

Team TruBlue says they’re drafting a proposal to submit to CMS leaders next month.

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