CMS superintendent says ‘all options on table’ during Hopewell HS safety meeting

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Hopewell High School officials held a town hall meeting Wednesday night to discuss safety in schools. The meeting came two weeks after two guns were found on campus and police filed charges against six students.

Hundreds attended the meeting at Lake Forest Church to hear from school leaders about what can be done.

The security at Hopewell High School has been called into question after a fight broke out on campus. The school has also been on a modified lockdown since September. That means an adult chaperone must escort students around the school.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Winston said every option is on the table and that a task force is looking into what can be put in place, a timeline, and how much it will all cost.

Winston outlined several possibilities for Hopewell, including:

  • Clear backpacks
  • Metal detectors
  • Wanding
  • Increased campus security
  • Community partnerships

“We are committed to doing everything we can to help keep our schools safe,” Winston said. “Why? Because our students deserve it. Our staff members deserve it.”

A parent thanked school leaders and police officers Wednesday night for handling the incident involving the fight.

“It could have been much worse,” the concerned citizen said. “Your actions, the actions of the Huntersville Police Department, saved our children.”

School Board Member Rhonda Cheek said students need to understand they can upend their lives if they bring a weapon to school.

“The consequences are real,” she said. “If you bring a weapon onto school grounds, you can lose your opportunity forever. And I don’t want any child to face that at a young age. But it is the reality.”

Cheek said that if clear backpacks are mandated, the district would provide them. However, she said that most of them are made in China and with supply chain challenges, that wouldn’t likely happen until January at the earliest.

The superintendent did not outline a timeline for when changes will be put in place but said they are working as quickly as possible.

With staff shortages, Principal Tracey Pickard told Channel 9 earlier in an exclusive interview that she is relying on parents to step up.

“This is one way we thought we could get more hands, eyes and feet to our students,” she said.

More than 60 people have pledged to help with the mission. Dan Scullion is a father of a Hopewell student and told Channel 9 why he’s getting involved.

“We are getting involved with being present in the school environment on a day-to-day basis so when the kids come out of one class and go to another, they can see an additional person -- parents, mothers and dads -- that show support while kids are making that transition from one class to the next,” he said.

(WATCH BELOW: Channel 9 sits down with Hopewell HS principal after guns found on campus)

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