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CMS students reflect on first days of using body scanners, encouraging their peers to stop the violence

CMS installed 18 body scanners at seven schools as part of the pilot program
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools placed body scanners in seven schools this week in an effort to cut down on weapons on campus.
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 7:22 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) -The start of the school day at some Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is taking some extra time thanks to new safety measures.

On Monday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced it would be installing body scanners at seven high schools.

Students tell WBTV it’s time-consuming, but with time they believe it will be an effective tool.

Veronica Bofah attends Harding University High School. Her school is an open campus with multiple buildings. CMS installed three scanners in different buildings at her school.

“They’re trying to designate certain students to go one place but the building can’t hold that many students at one capacity and so I think that is what contributes to time being an issue, but I feel like if we find a routine it might be successful,” Bofah said.

Related: Security body scanners installed at Hopewell HS, next phases of schools revealed

CMS is adding body scanners in three phases, these scanners were purchased in an effort to make schools safer by catching any potential weapons.

The seven Phase 1 high schools in the district include:

  • Mallard Creek
  • North Mecklenburg
  • Garinger
  • Harding University
  • Hopewell
  • Julius Chambers
  • West Charlotte

Students at the seven schools tell WBTV they walked through them for the first time on Wednesday.

Dashanti Cathey is a student at West Charlotte High School.

West Charlotte High School has two body scanners tota, one at the bus lot and one at the main entrance.

Cathey said she was apprehensive at first, but realized the scanners can only help students.

“The first day it was kind of very terrifying but at the same time it also made me feel safer about the environment of my school,” she said.

Her friend and classmate Leela Owens says she’s hopeful this new technology will create a safer environment for all students and staff.

“I feel like students will have to understand that this is actually helping our school and bettering it,” she said.

Since the beginning of the school year, 25 guns were located on several CMS campuses, including Harding University and West Charlotte High Schools.

“This is very reactionary we’re waiting until the weapons are on the campus, we’re finding them after they’re brought on to campus,” Bofah.

Bofah says the district should’ve used some of its funds to go toward extra mental health resources.

“I expressed my concerns about more mental health resources being a priority and ensuring that students are aware of those resources in the first place,” she said.

In March, the Board of Education reviewed a budget presentation from the superintendent which included potential investments in increasing the number of social workers, psychologists, and behavior intervention counselors in schools.

There is a budget work session and public hearing on April 5. The Board is scheduled to approve the budget on April 26.

As the pilot continues, Bofah’s cautiously optimistic the scanners will not only catch the weapons but stop more students from bringing them all together.

“Maybe if students are seeing how many prohibited items are being confiscated that’ll prevent them from wanting to get caught by the body scanners,” she said.

Day by day and step by step, students say they are hopeful for more safety and improved reputations.

“I just don’t want to hear our school on the news again. It’s just a lot of stuff that’s been happening and our school has kind of been the main school on the news and I just want us to become better,” Owens said.

CMS has outlined potential Phase II and Phase III schools for body scanners, but a date has not been announced.

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