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An in-depth look at our region's emerging economic, social, political and cultural identity.

CMS Reviews School Security Following Butler High Deadly Shooting

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Jessa O'Connor / WFAE
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Superintendent Clayton Wilcox at the Monday afternoon press conference regarding the Butler High School shooting.

Monday's deadly shooting at Butler High School comes at a time when officials with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are in the process of searching for ways to make district schools safer. Many CMS schools received a variety of security upgrades this year to the tune of $1.75 million in funding from the county. Additional funds from county commissioners have been approved that school officials are figuring out where and how to spend. 

Earlier this month, CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox laid out specific plans for half of the $9 million that county commissioners approved for the district for security needs.

In the first phase of the security work that began this year, Wilcox said the money was used to pay for security enhancements, including enhanced video surveillance equipment, new or upgraded cameras (which were installed at 13 schools), analog camera systems that were upgraded to digital, classroom door locks that were upgraded at eight schools and perimeter fencing was added at three schools. Future plans also call for teachers to have panic alert cards to notify police and administrators of threats.

Metal detectors or devices that can wand students when they enter buildings to detect weapons are not on the list. In the past, Wilcox has said that many CMS schools have too many students for each one to go through such checkpoints, including Butler. Plus, he pointed out that many schools have open campuses with separate buildings that would not make wands and detectors effective.

CMS officials are providing students with behavior problems more help by hiring a total of 60 counselors, social workers and psychologists this school year. They are also encouraging students to report potential threats and instances of bullying — something officials say may have led to the deadly Butler shooting.

Wilcox said in light of the tragedy, they will review all plans and look for more aggressive ways to make schools safer.

Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.