CMS leaders discuss new body scanners, other safety measures at Board meeting

Thirty guns were found from August to June at several CMS schools
School might be out of the summer but the conversation over safety doesn’t stop.
Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 11:13 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - School might be out of the summer but the conversation over safety doesn’t stop.

Tuesday night, leaders publicly talked about how even more Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students will walk through these Evolv body scanners starting this fall.

CMS announced last Friday that it will be adding 104 Evolv body scanners to several K-8, middle, and the remaining high schools. It will cost the district $9.9 million.

“Locally, the number of weapons confiscated reached an all-time high last year, including the confiscation of four firearms in the last semester at K-8 and middle schools,” Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh wrote in the announcement. “This decision comes with much thought and consideration of these national, regional and local trends.”

As we’ve reported, body scanners were installed in 21 high schools in April.

CMS has a total of 32 high schools, 49 middle schools, one of which is virtual, and 96 elementary schools. There are 16 K-8 schools that fall within the elementary/middle category.

Guns were found at multiple K-8 and middle school campuses during the school year, which is why district leaders want to add extra security to protect younger students.

“Safety throughout the district is very important,” At-Large Board member Lenora Shipp said.

CMS student advisor Juan Torres Muñoz says the cost is worthwhile. Body scanners were installed at his school, East Mecklenburg High School in April.

“You can never be too safe, if we have students going through these scanners we can make sure they’re in a safer position by going to school and not fearing that someone is going to take out a weapon and do something that we don’t wish happen,” he said.

On Monday, Governor Roy Cooper signed the state budget, one budget item includes increasing the grant funding for school resource officers for ‘low wealth’ counties.

CMS does not meet the low wealth classification, but Shipp says the need is still there since the district has close to 70 SROs which split their time between the schools.

“We have to look closely at providing some support there, how can we provide a schedule for SROs to be at the elementary schools. I think that’s critical,” Shipp said.

Torres Muñoz also says he believes more mental health counseling is needed to help students process their emotions and concerns.

“We can help them cope with whatever is going on at home or in their other communities so that they don’t feel like the only way to solve a problem and is grabbing a gun and doing something they’ll regret,” he said.

The body scanners will be installed during the first quarter of the year starting with the larger high schools, middle schools, specialty high schools, then the K-8 schools.

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