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'I know we could make a difference' | Nonviolence organizations want to help CMS address violence in schools

"Something should have been done after the first gun was found there," apostle Belton Platt with Rock Ministries International said.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After Monday's shooting at West Charlotte High School and 23 guns were found on campuses this year, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools system is now looking for solutions to increase safety. 

Some nonviolence organizations who have offered help, though, say the district doesn’t seem to want it. 

Though multiple guns have been found, Monday's incident was the first time a gun was fired at a CMS school this year.

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“Thank God nobody died yesterday in West Charlotte,” apostle Belton Platt with Rock Ministries International said.

Platt said it never should’ve gotten to this point.

"Something should have been done after the first gun was found there," Platt said.

At Monday's press conference, CMS superintendent Earnest Winston said the district is working on options to enhance safety.

RELATED: 'It is unacceptable': CMS superintendent responds after student opens fire at West Charlotte High

“Everything is on the table, we will look at every option necessary," Winston said.

Platt said organizations like his who work to interrupt violence have been looked over, though.

“I’ve been trying to get in CMS for a couple months, I’ve been trying to get in literally West Charlotte high school,” Platt said.

Platt interacts with students every week, hosting an open gym for youth called Sunday hoops that draws dozens of kids from multiple CMS schools.

“We have kids from 8 years old all the way up to 26-year-old youth coming in on Sundays, so we hear it all," Platt said.

Platt said he’s heard their fears firsthand.

“One day we were talking and the kids were talking about how they're afraid to be in school," Platt said. "One of them said, 'Well I have mace,' another one said, 'I need a gun to protect myself.'"

Platt said what they need are adults who can help keep them on the right path. For months Platt and other organizations have been asking CMS to come into schools with nonviolence initiatives to no avail. 

Platt said he hopes Monday's incident causes them to reconsider.

“I know we could make a difference in those kids' lives if we get rid of some of the red tape,” Platt said.

WCNC Charlotte reached out to CMS to ask if the district is now considering allowing outside nonviolence organizations to come into schools and what that process would be. As of publishing this story, we have not heard back.

Contact Lana Harris at lharris@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and on Instagram.

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