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Two guns found at CMS schools ahead of classes ending Wednesday; parents concerned and want change

“It makes me a little bit nervous, that’s why I kept my oldest out,”
We have seen a majority of guns found at our high schools--but middle schools are not the exception.
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 8:23 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A total of 30 guns have been found at schools within the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system this school year, which is August 2021 to June 2022.

The school district said 23 guns were found during the fall semester and seven so far this spring with school ending this week.

CMS installed body scanners this spring in several high schools to discourage students from bringing firearms to school, but that’s not the case for middle and elementary schools.

Two guns have been found this week, one at Coulwood STEM Academy Monday, and Harding University High School on Tuesday, just days before the school year ends Wednesday.

Except for the gun found at Harding, the last three incidents have happened in lower-level schools where body scanners have not been implemented.

WBTV talked to parents and a school board member about security and safety solutions moving forward for the next school year.

One parent told WBTV she’s not sure about body scanners being in lower-level schools but believes there should be more programs and people in place to de-escalate disagreements and parents should be accountable for their children bringing weapons to school.

“It makes me a little bit nervous, that’s why I kept my oldest out,” said Brittany Martin, a parent at Coulwood STEM Academy.

Parents are on guard after a gun was found at Coulwood Monday. With two days remaining of school, the principal implemented a no backpack policy for students at school.

A day later, an unloaded gun was found on a student at Harding University High School.

Martin said, “It makes me feel like is there any bullying involved, or is the child scared.”

A neighbor of Coulwood, Taylor Linker said, “I think it’s a huge concern and I think something has to be done about it before it gets even worse.”

Jennifer De La Jara, an At-Large Member of CMS Board of Education said, “I’m glad we found these weapons here on the last day of school, but this should not be what our teachers and our principles are subjected to.”

Parents and neighbors are concerned about the two guns found within less than two days of school.

“I do believe if we have more preventative measures and coping mechanisms within the school that we can help to low the prevalence of violence in our community,” said De La Jara.

The board member said that includes mental health support, psychologist, and social workers in schools to help minimize behavior issues.

De La Jara believes there should only be more resources officers in school if CMS adds more body scanners, and this district is not sure if that will happen.

Martin said, “this is not even high school, they haven’t even made it to being full teenagers yet and they’re already bringing weapons to school, so yeah I’m a little bit uneasy.”

Some parents and neighbors are not sure about body scanners at the lower-level schools, but one parent believes there should be a change in backpacks.

“I would like to see clear bookbags until the children can make better decisions until the adults can make better decisions because they’re getting access from something,” said Martin.

Jennifer De La Jara said she’s not sure if CMS will go forward with the clear backpacks but there could be an update on June 14th. How CMS moves forward with those backpacks will likely depend on the interim superintendent.

CMS says it will update the public about the possibility of adding more body scanners when info becomes available.

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