Keeping Our Schools Safe

School should be a safe place for teaching and learning for everyone. On Nov. 16, 2018, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced that additional measures would be taken to help keep students and staff safe in schools. On Jan. 8, 2019, CMS updated the community on progress in key safety areas. The district will continue to update the community as further progress is made to make our schools safer for everyone.

1.    Safety screenings to help keep weapons out of schools

  • To help keep weapons out of schools, CMS will begin safety screenings at a randomly selected high school within the next few weeks.
  • The screening tools, procedures and staff training are being designed to respect the rights and privacy of students and minimize disruption to teaching and learning while deterring weapons being brought into schools.
  • Various tools will be deployed including metal detection wands, portable metal detectors, bag searches and use of a dog trained to detect gunpowder. The dog will not come into contact with students.
  • A high school will be chosen at random for the first screening. All students in the randomly selected school will be screened. No individual student will be chosen randomly.
  • Safety screening communications will help make sure students, families and staff and community know what to expect step-by-step during a screening.

2.    Expanded video surveillance for better monitoring and response times

  • Cameras and monitors are being upgraded with priority on elementary schools.
  • Additional equipment will enhance views of playgrounds and mobiles.
  • Upgrades have been completed at 11 schools and an additional 15 schools are estimated for completion by the end of January.
  • Work will continue through June for completion at all schools.

3.    Deploying crisis alert systems so help arrives faster

  • These systems enable any staff member to instantly call for help, and identify location and level of crisis to enable best response for medical, law enforcement or other assistance.
  • The first crisis alert system has been installed in the pilot school. Systems at eight additional schools will be installed in January and approximately eight more by end of March.
  • A Crisis Alert Advisory Group is being formed to finalize best practices and designate training guidelines. 

4.    Enhanced locks and digital technologies to better control who comes into schools

  • 45 locks have been upgraded across the district.
  • An additional 300-325 locks will be installed by April.
  • Front entrance of every school is being upgraded with digital access as needed.
  • In schools with multiple buildings, digital entry access controls on every major building will be in place at all schools.
     

5.    Active survival training

  • Dedicated active survival trainer hired October 22, 2018
  • 15 schools have completed training.
  • 26 schools are scheduled for training, others being scheduled.
  • 5 key staff groups trained.

6.    Faster and more frequent crisis communications and social media monitoring

  • More frequent and faster crisis communications to families and community.
  • Dedicated crisis response director being hired.
  • Deeper social media monitoring and partnership with law enforcement.
  • Safety town halls beginning in early February.

7.    Increased support for student mental health

  • School safety experts say mental health support is critical.
  • 60 counselors added this year, more investments to be requested.
  • Mental health programs added and planned.

8.    Fencing and gates to control campus access

  • Repairs and/or upgrades completed at 13 schools identified as most in need.
  • Work ongoing through end of school year.