CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools have announced three of the top leaders at a CMS middle school have been placed on administrative leave.
Officials sent a message to families Tuesday morning stating Carmel Middle School's principal, an assistant principal, and dean of students are currently on administrative leave.
Sources familiar with the situation told Channel 9 the action handed down was related to how the three administrators handled a situation where a student threatened to bring a gun to school.
Those sources also said that student was a sixth-grader who has been suspended.
Parents, however, have only been told that the principal, LeDuan Pratt, assistant principal Bethany Gullion, and dean of students Patrick Dean are currently on administrative leave, and that details of the situation are a personnel matter and cannot be shared.
"The focus of CMS and staff at Carmel remains on students and their achievement," CMS officials said. "Families should know that teaching and learning are continuing at Carmel without interruption. Carmel staff and families have been directly updated on school leadership. CMS does not share info or comment on personnel matters."
Good morning Carmel Middle School Families,
This is Tara Lynn Sullivan, CMS Central 2 Learning Community Superintendent.
Keeping you informed of matters impacting your child’s school is important to me.
With that in mind, I want to provide you with the information I can share regarding a situation at Carmel Middle School. Principal LeDuan Pratt, Assistant Principal Bethany Gullion, and Dean of Students Patrick Dean are currently on administrative leave. Details of the situation are a personnel matter and cannot be shared.
I realize this information is unexpected and may be unsettling. Please know that maintaining the quality teaching and learning environment at Carmel is the highest priority. I am working quickly to identify a highly qualified and caring interim principal and assistant principal to support the Carmel students, families and staff during this time.
In the meantime, I will work closely with Assistant Principal Jared Thompson and all other staff to ensure school operations continue as usual. Once an interim principal and assistant principal has been assigned, communication will be sent to all families. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this transition. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 980-344-7130.
CMS Central 2 Learning Community Superintendent Tara Lynn Sullivan said she is looking to find an interim principal and assistant principal to lead the school.
Parents told education reporter Elsa Gillis they received the message just minutes before dropping off their kids at school Tuesday, so they are still very confused and concerned and hoping for more answers.
"I thought 'Oh my gosh, what is going on?' To have three people placed on admin leave, to get a call 15 minutes before school is not normal," one parent said.
"Really shocked because these are three dedicated individuals who have been the soul of the school," mother Sandra Moore said.
When Channel 9 asked the district what happened, we were told CMS does not comment on personnel matters.
School officials did tell Channel 9 that the situation does not involve improper behavior by a CMS employee toward a student and there is no criminal investigation.
Our sources said the situation unfolded shortly after the deadly shooting at Butler High School. Since then, there has been intense debate and discussion over how to handle these situations and keep guns out of schools.
It's not clear how the Carmel Middle School administrators handled the reported threat.
Officials said Assistant Principal Jared Thompson will cover school operations until a principal and assistant principal are assigned to Carmel Middle School.
School security is very top-of-mind in the Charlotte community, and administrators are facing extra scrutiny for how they're facing threats.
The main focus over the last few weeks has been how do we keep guns out of schools and how do we respond to those situations.
Last week, Channel 9 reported South Carolina state investigators were looking into how administrators handled a perceived threat at Lewisville Middle School, in Richburg.
Investigators said a 13-year-old drew a picture of himself shooting another student, but parents said the district never notified them or deputies.
In Charlotte, after the deadly shooting inside Butler High School last month, CMS announced new security measures that will be implemented after winter break.
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They'll begin randomly using metal-detecting wands on students, along with random bag searches, increased camera monitors, and teacher panic cards.
This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with wsoctv.com for more information.
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