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Charlotte Area News

After Skipping Funeral, CMS Superintendent Says 'It's Best For Me To Stay Away'

CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox
Zuri Berry

CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox did not attend Saturday’s funeral for the Butler High School student who was shot and killed on the school’s campus, saying his presence at the funeral would have been a distraction.

Bobby McKeithen, 16, was laid to rest at Progressive Baptist Church Saturday. He was shot and killed by fellow student Jatwan Cuffie Oct. 29. Cuffie, also 16, has been charged with first-degree murder.

Wilcox, who spoke with Mike Collins on Charlotte Talks Monday morning, said he believes his presence would not have been in the best interest of the family after attributing the shooting to “bullying that escalated out of control.”

Wilcox said he has since been asked by police not to comment on the matter, as the investigation is ongoing.

“When I made the comment initially, it was because I was aware of some things that were going on prior to the school day,” he said, referring to a fight that Cuffie says occurred in a Harris Teeter parking lot that preceded the shooting.

McKeithen’s family believes that the school could have done more and should have warned parents that a situation of this magnitude was beginning to take shape. Wilcox said no members of the school staff knew about the fight until after the shooting and had no way to warn the families of both students.

Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE

Wilcox also called the decision not to attend the funeral “hard,” but said that he believes it was the right thing to do.

“I will make contact with the family at some point, but I think right now, as the investigation unfolds and the facts, it's probably best for me to stay away,” Wilcox said.

Butler High Principal John Legrand did attend McKeithen’s funeral and addressed the gathering, saying, “above all, we’re going to miss Bobby” and spoke of the teenager’s smile and “infectious” personality.