CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Residents who live near South Mecklenburg High School say they’re fed up with the recent uptick of students who have been skipping school and roaming their neighborhoods.
“It is a little shorter to come through here than to come on the sidewalk, and so they come through,” says Jill Detweiler, who lives in a neighborhood that backs up to the school.
But some say the students aren’t just roaming, they’re causing property damage. Hamlin Park’s HOA called police March 7 after they say two students bent their perimeter fence causing $150 in damage.
The president of the association later distributed notices to every resident.
“They’re just asking us to be aware of anybody coming through, if anybody’s damaging the fences. Anybody coming through that doesn’t belong here,” says Detweiler.
On March 9, concerned residents met with the school’s principal, Dr. Furr, the school’s resource officer and other officers from CMPD’s South Division. In a message posted to the online neighborhood social site, NextDoor.com, Catherine Goodrich posted that more than 20 residents showed up and that the “dialogue was encouraging.”
She also said the school agreed to address the issue and even passed out school maps, asking residents to identify hotspots for entry into the neighborhoods or gathering places.
Students who spoke with NBC Charlotte after school Wednesday afternoon say it is not uncommon for any high school student to skip class, but they say not everyone is up to no good.
“Some students will just end up going home or coming to McDonald's just to hang out,” said one student.
A second meeting between residents and CMPD officers is scheduled for Wednesday, March 9 at Amelie’s Bakery and Café in Carmel Commons. It’s expected to go from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. It is open to the public.