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Police respond to fight at Charlotte high school

Julius Chambers High School in northeast Charlotte was placed on lockdown after a fight broke out among multiple students Wednesday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Julius Chambers High School in northeast Charlotte was placed on lockdown Wednesday after police were called to a fight among multiple students, administrators said. 

Chambers principal Erik Turner sent parents the following message Wednesday explaining what happened. Turner said all students involved would be punished in accordance with the CMS code of conduct. 

"A fight among multiple students occurred this morning on campus. Law enforcement was called to ensure the safety and security of our students and staff. This is unacceptable behavior and a violation of the CMS Code of Student Conduct. Students who violate the code will be disciplined accordingly. As a precaution, we will be on a modified lockdown for the remainder of the day.

Your child’s safety is my first priority as principal, and I am committed to providing a safe and positive high school experience for all our students. Thank you to our students and parents who partner with us to make Chambers a great place to work and learn."

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said the investigation remains active and ongoing.

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This is the latest violent incident at a Charlotte-Mecklenburg campus. Last month, 17 people were charged after a "series of fights" broke out at Mallard Creek High School. 

On Wednesday, CMS increased security at Harding University High School after a gun was found in a backpack Tuesday. CMS leaders have discussed several measures to reduce violence in schools, including bringing more parents on campus to be involved with day-to-day activities.

Community leaders calling for action

Community leaders like Corine Mack, the president of the Charlotte NAACP,  said parents and concerned community members have to take action so no other child falls victim.

"I don’t see parents outraged in the way I believe they should be outraged," Mack said. "If they want to do metal detectors go right ahead, that does not affect in any way the systemic problem, it doesn’t affect the trauma these children may have and I think children need to know they are loved, they are cared for, and we see them, they're not invisible to us."

There is a pilot program at Hopewell High school where parents can volunteer to come and monitor the halls and be a presence for students. Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden said he feels this is a positive step, and that he has already seen the benefit at the school.

"The mothers are involved, the fathers are involved," McFadden said. "The fathers are going into the bathrooms saying get out of the bathrooms, and so now they know what happens in those bathrooms. The mothers are walking children down the hall because when they see them upset they can calm them down. Then you go to the games where they play, and when they see you, it's building that bridge that we all talk about."

CMS Board of Education member Thelma Bailey said this is something she would like to see at other schools like Harding High School, which is in her district. Bailey said she believes it may be looked into as a model for other schools depending on its success at Hopewell.

Beginning Thursday, a new program called Save P.E.A.C.E (Principles, Enhancement, and Character Education) will be introduced at the CMS Performance Learning Center for high school students. 

Each week the students will learn character building and life skills.

“We need to make sure that these children see the humanity in each other," Charlene Henderson, vice president of S.A.V.E. said. "That is one of the problems -- a big problem that plagues our city because they treat each other like animals.”

The goal is to also give students a voice in seeking solutions to the violence too. A Save Teen Peace Summit planned on Saturday, Dec.11 is encouraging students, parents and all members of the community to come together to further discuss ways to address school violence.

Credit: Charlene Henderson

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