CMS steps up security in the wake of a series of issues at local schools

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools superintendent announced the district will begin to randomly wand students and to conduct random searches of backpacks when school resumes after the winter break.

Clayton Wilcox said the wanding and searches will be done by trained security personnel. CMS police will manage the program and work with law enforcement agencies to develop protocols and procedures.

Friday's announcement comes after a series of security issues at local schools, including a deadly shooting at Butler High School in late October.

The Matthews Police Department released new audio Friday that reveals more about the response to that shooting.

"School is in lockdown,” a caller said. “I'm in the 500 hallway. I have one male shot, one male shot, 500 hallway."

Following the shooting, officials dealt with several cases of students bringing guns on campus.

[Slain Butler HS student's father: 'My son lost his life over foolishness']

The district said it will also be adding camera monitors for all portable classrooms. Officials said they will be implementing panic cards, which will allow teachers to send instant emergency notifications to CMS staff, law enforcement and emergency personnel.

The district also said it will install an electronic, keyless entry system on every front door on school campuses.

[RELATED: Parents march to school to get children after deadly shooting]

Wilcox said resources and procedures for monitoring social media will be put in place to make sure families are informed about threats.

He said the district is also working to increase the frequency of updates and messages to families in a crisis, including text messaging.

Wilcox also highlighted the need to increase resources for mental health supports for students, including more counselors, in the next operating budget.

Wilcox said issue of guns in schools goes beyond school doors.

[RELATED: CMPD: 3 arrested in connection to social media threat, gun at Olympic High]

He said that it's the parents’ responsibility to make sure all guns are locked up, and that if a student brings a gun to school, they will be punished.

Wilcox said that parents could also face charges.

“This community has to get a grip on what's going on with guns, obtained either illegally or guns that are legally obtained, but misplaced by adults who didn't care enough to lock it up,” Wilcox said.


The Wall Street Journal looked at all school shootings since 1990 in which people were killed or injured and found that the guns often come from the student's home, not from gun shops or the street.

Wilcox told Channel 9 the district will hold several community town halls so he can talk to parents about the issue, as well as learn of any issues and get input on how they think the school should keep their children safe.

“I strongly encourage everyone, students, families and staff, to say something if you see something that can threaten our safety,” Wilcox said. “I strongly believe that the true solutions to ending violence and guns in our schools are found in building relationships, in creating trust and in creating community in our schools.”

Click here to read more about the current safety plan and the new security measures.

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