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‘It’s a change for better:’ CMS students at Cochrane Collegiate Academy receiving clear backpacks next Tuesday

iMeck Academy students will get clear backpacks on March 29
Starting Tuesday, March 29, students at iMeck Academy at Cochrane Collegiate Academy make the switch to clear book bags.
Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 6:46 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Some CMS students are saying goodbye to their totes, satchels, and favorite book bags starting next week.

Starting Tuesday, March 29, students at iMeck Academy at Cochrane Collegiate Academy make the switch to clear book bags - one of the district’s newest safety measures.

Related: CMS prepares to roll out clear backpacks in pilot program this spring

In November, the district spent nearly $442,000 for clear backpacks for high school students. 46,000 clear backpacks were purchased.

“It’s a big change, but it’s a change for better,” said one iMeck Academy student.

Hopewell High School was also selected as a pilot for the backpacks. District officials said they did not have a date to share on when those students will receive theirs.

More than 200 weapons were found on CMS campuses between August and mid-January. In addition, 25 guns were found on multiple CMS campuses since August.

Some students say they’re on the fence about the backpacks.

“It could provide students with more safety in school obviously but also some students feel like it might bring less security and less privacy to them,” said Eli an iMeck student.

Clear backpacks aren’t the only safety measure on the way for students.

CMS has seven schools in Phase 1 in the rollout for body scanners.

Those high schools are North Mecklenburg, Garinger, West Charlotte, Mallard Creek, Hopewell, Harding University, and Julius Chambers.

A WBTV public records obtained the purchase order for the body scanners. Documents show the scanners will be delivered March 30, and cost a total of nearly $1.7 million.

Earlier this month, CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston said the plan is to have the scanners installed before spring break in mid-April.

Dee Rankin has two children at Hopewell.

“Hopefully they do it in an intentional manner and not just based on school population, not based on how many guns have been found because I guarantee there are guns at every school or the potential for guns to be at every school. It should be based on strategy,” Rankin said.

Rankin believes the body scanner distribution should be placed at other larger schools such as Myers Park and Butler High School.

“West Charlotte, North Meck, Garinger, those are all open campuses but what about the Butlers - where we know there was a student who was unfortunately that was fatally killed. Shouldn’t we focus on campuses like that,” he said.

District officials shared they will announce the launch date for body scanners once the process is complete.

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