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Body scanner finds loaded gun at Berry Academy, CMS says

A CMS spokesperson confirmed the weapon was found while a student was going through a new body scanner at the entrance to Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A loaded gun was found on the campus of Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology Monday morning, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools confirmed. 

A CMS spokesperson said the weapon was found while the student was going through one of the school's new body scanners.

The 18-year-old student was arrested and charged with gun possession charges, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

CMS said the school was not put on lockdown.

"Please speak with your students about the serious consequences of bringing a weapon to school," school principal Tanya Branham said in a message to parents.

CMS began installing body scanners at its high schools earlier this year after a record number of weapons were found on campuses this school year. Former superintendent Earnest Winston championed the body scanners as a way to reduce the number of weapons on school grounds. CMS confirmed this is the 26th weapon found at a school this school year. 

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Berry Academy was in phase three of the CMS body scanner rollout, which also included Ardrey Kell, Olympic, Providence, Independence, Hawthorne and Hough. 

A CMS spokesperson said the gun at Phillip O. Berry was found on the second day the scanners were on campus. The district said there have been no other reports of weapons detected with the body scanners at other CMS high schools. 

"Our goal is for them to have the best academic experience and to soar academically and to have great outcomes, but be safe," CMS Board Member Rhonda Cheek said. "We've had situations this year where kids were not safe. When there's guns falling down somebody's pants, that is not a safe experience."

Note: WCNC instituted a new policy in March 2021 regarding the broadcast or posting of mugshots.  

WCNC will only air or post a mugshot if the person has been formally charged with a crime and in a few other cases. The exceptions include: If it appears the person could be a danger to themselves or others or if they are wanted by authorities; to differentiate between people with a common name; if the photos could encourage more victims to come forward. The news-editorial leadership may also decide to use a mugshot based on the severity of the crime(s) committed and/or the level of public interest in the crime and ensuing criminal proceedings.

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