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Weapons found at 2 Charlotte high schools Thursday

Administrators at West Charlotte High School said two weapons were found in the parking lot, and a North Mecklenburg High student had a gun taken away Thursday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Multiple weapons were found at two Charlotte-Mecklenburg high schools Thursday, including a gun at North Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools confirmed. 

Two weapons were also found in the parking lot at West Charlotte High School Thursday. 

Administrators at North Meck said there were no threats made against the school and all students and staff were safe. 

In total, 21 firearms have been found at CMS schools this school year. 

Principal Stephanie Hood called parents and notified them of the weapon being found with the following message: 

"This is Principal Hood calling with an important message. Today, a student was found in possession of a firearm on campus. Law enforcement was called, and the firearm was confiscated without incident. No threats were made, and all students and staff are safe. It is a violation of CMS policy and state law to have a weapon on any CMS campus. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against anyone in violation. Your student’s safety is our top priority. Thank you so much for your constant support of North Mecklenburg High School."

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This is the first incident at the school since a series of fights led to increased security in October. 

West Charlotte administrators sent parents the following message Thursday: 

"This is Principal Hoskins with an important message. I'm calling to let you know that a safety screening was conducted today on our campus to help keep weapons and other prohibited items out of our school.

Today’s screening was a precaution only – there was no threat or emergency. All students and staff at our school are safe. Today’s safety screening was very similar to screenings we all participate in before entering football games and other school special events.

No students were permitted to leave campus during the safety screening. Our staff, parents and students all wish safety screenings were not needed, but weapons must not be in our schools.

I am happy to share that no weapons were found during today’s safety screening.

However, prior to the safety screening, CMS police observed several students in a vehicle in our student parking lot. They approached the vehicle, questioned the students, conducted a search of the vehicle, and discovered two weapons. The weapons were confiscated without incident.

Please speak with your student about the consequences of bringing a weapon to school. It is a violation of CMS policy and state law to have a weapon on any CMS campus. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against anyone in violation. Your student’s safety is our top priority.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at 980-343-6060. Thank you for your support of West Charlotte High School."

Bettie Jones’ granddaughter attends West Charlotte High School, and Jones is also the mother of a child who died from gun violence.

"We just went through the pandemic where it was not safe to send your children to school because of the COVID-19. Now you're going through another pandemic because of the guns," Jones said. "You just feel unsafe."

Annie Gregg's granddaughter also attends West Charlotte, and she said the school should search students' cars every day.

"Something definitely needs to be done," Gregg said. "They say they're doing things, but it's not working."

Dr. Debbie Granick, a psychiatric nurse practitioner for Monarch Health, said it can be traumatic for children to repeatedly go on lockdown and hear about guns in schools.

"One of the best things we can do is provide a nurturing, safe space for children," Dr. Granick said. "To not all of a sudden start putting in their lunchboxes these notes, you know, 'I love you so much. I'd be so sad if anything ever happened to you,' like no no no no no."

She said there are also better ways for parents to ask their children if they're doing emotionally okay.

"Another way to phrase the question is, 'Well, if your best friend was here and you said, I'm totally fine,' would they totally agree?'" Dr. Granick suggested.

RELATED: CMS superintendent reassures parents, students in light of Michigan school shooting

Superintendent Earnest Winston said last week that CMS is taking precautions to prevent violence in schools. Winston pointed to a workgroup he directed that is working to find short-term and long-term solutions to the growing violence in schools issue. One of those solutions is to provide students with clear backpacks, which are due to arrive in February. Another tool is creating a system where students can report possible threats anonymously and doubling the number of random safety screenings at school. 

Winston recently met with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Johnny Jennings, along with other city and county leaders like the district attorney and the sheriff to figure out other possible solutions.

"We are all concerned for the safety of our students and staff," Winston wrote. "Addressing this crisis is a top priority, and we will communicate more actions as our team takes an all-hands-on-deck approach to new school safety measures and preventing further violence."

A video from Winston was later posted to social media addressing the latest incidents:

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