12-year-old writes heartbreaking goodbye letter to family during school lockdown

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A 12-year-old Charlotte boy wrote a heartbreaking goodbye letter to his family during the moments his school was on a lockdown last week.

Ajani Dartiguenave has been on edge with all of the recent guns being taken to Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools over the past couple of months.

Ajani, a student at Governor’s Village STEM Academy in north Charlotte, feared that someone had brought a gun to school.

[RELATED: CMS superintendent reconsiders certain safety measures after guns found at schools]

Over the past month, several guns have been found in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools.

Claudia Charles, Ajani’s mother, said the north Charlotte school was on lockdown Friday afternoon. CMS officials confirmed that there was a lockdown at the school due to an anonymous threat that was later resolved.

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

The chaos lasted for about an hour, and students didn’t know what they were hiding from, which made the situation even scarier.


Ajani wrote a letter to his mother while he feared for his life.

“Dear mom, I am scared to death,” he wrote. "I need a warm soft hug. I will miss you."

Charles showed Channel 9 the letter her son wrote while in class.

“He even wrote our address on the top of the letter,” Charles said. "His rationale was, if they found it, they can send it to us."

"Some people started writing letters, some people started crying, some people started praying,” the boy said.

Charles said the recent school shooting at Butler High School and gun scares at other CMS schools have really shaken up her son and some of his friends.

"He said, ‘When a teacher was trying to enter into a classroom to let them know, ‘Hey, the lockdown is over,' the students started screaming. They ran the other way because they thought there was an active shooter on the other side of the door."

Lisa Pennington, a licensed psychologist, said Ajani may not be the only one feeling uneasy.

“That is as bad as experiencing it sometimes because he felt like his life was going to end,” she said. “There's definitely anxiety with children going to school."

Pennington said more school-aged children are questioning their safety.

"They really have to think about, ‘Am I safe in school? Am I protected?’" Pennington said.

Pennington said reassuring children their school is safe before bed and before school will help them ease their mind.

"Kids are better off with knowledge that there are systems in place and we are trying to protect them,” Pennington said.

Charles said since the incident, she has purchased a cell phone for her son to get in touch with him right away.

"It was traumatic to him and his classmates, and because of that it's upsetting to me,” Charles said.

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