Community group aims to have more discussion, ideas after three guns at Rock Hill Schools

Three guns were found at three different Rock Hill schools this week.
Three guns were found at three different Rock Hill schools this week.
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 6:12 PM EDT
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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - In the third week of school, three guns were found at three different schools within the Rock Hill Schools district.

WBTV has been closely following this story all week.

The first gun was found at South Point High School inside a backpack. The second at Dutchman Creek Middle, where a student actually pointed it at another person. The last was found inside a car at Rock Hill High during a random search aimed at cracking down on banned items.

On Wednesday, WBTV talked with the school board chairwoman about the problems. She said they’re open to discussions about what community members and parents want to see happen to help solve this issue. Now, one organization is answering that call with some ideas of their own.

Rock Hill Schools has already increased the random searches inside schools and is toying with the idea of metal detectors, but a parent organization right here in Rock Hill said it cannot just be a school issue.

Going into the first day of school—safety was top of mind. After week-three brought three gun incidents up at Rock Hill Schools, the issue is not moving.

”You feel that when you’re leaving them their going to be safe but I don’t think nowadays anyone is safe,” one parent said.

”That stunned me, I don’t even know what to think about that,” another said.

Moms Against Racism (MAR) is the parent group hoping to get in on the discussion of guns in schools.

”I would have never imagined three incidents happening back to back,” Natasha Witherspoon, founder of the organization, said. ”I’m confident our school district officials and safety teams they’re doing the absolute best that they can. I’m very very excited to see them invite parents to come to the table.”

She and the parents of MAR want to pull up a seat to that table with some of their own ideas.

”I do believe that there are a number of solutions that we could definitely learn from from neighboring city, states and communities. We don’t necessarily need to reinvent a wheel,” she said.

One of those initiatives is clear backpacks. Recently, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools tried to implement them but failed when the bags were shelved for potential cancer-causing chemicals. However, Witherspoon said these bags already work at sports games and major events, so why not here?

”There’s going to be some challenges and there’s not one perfect solution but definitely we can take a step forward by doing what we can,” she said.

She said the biggest thing parents can do right now is talk to their children. The discussion for her cannot just stop when the bell dismisses the students. She wants the school district and the parents to share resources back and forth so there can be one message.

”Proactive measures is a lot better than just waiting for one area of focus and leaders to make decisions when their our kids at home and their our kids at school,” she shared.

WBTV will stay on this story and continue pressing for answers about how the district decides to handle safety moving forward.

Related: VIDEO: Coalition calls for proactive, urgent action to bolster safety in SC schools