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Clear bookbags arrive at CMS warehouse, will be given to students soon

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools spent nearly $500,000 on clear bookbags in response to a sharp rise in guns found in district schools.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Students at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will soon have clear backpacks. 

District leaders confirmed that clear bookbags ordered in November for nearly $500,000 have arrived and are in the CMS warehouse. WCNC Charlotte learned principals and school staff members are finalizing details to hand them out to students. 

The backpacks are expected to be distributed soon for students to use as a safety measure. The decision to order the bags was made in response to a sharp rise in guns at CMS schools. 

Superintendent Earnest Winston said in late January clear backpacks would become the standard "within a few weeks." District leaders are also considering body scanners similar to those used at Bank of America Stadium. 

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Data obtained by WCNC Charlotte found that CMS started randomly searching students for weapons at the beginning of the school year. But district records reveal those safety screenings have failed to find any guns

The district describes those screenings as, at the least, using handheld metal detectors to wand students, in addition to visually checking their bags.

The data show the district has targeted more than 20 schools, most of them high schools. Records show CMS has screened students in some of those schools (Harding, Hopewell, Mallard Creek) multiple times. Meanwhile, CMS has only screened students at some schools once each, including the largest high schools in the state (Ardrey Kell and Myers Park).


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