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CMS superintendent sounds off on recent school shootings

"We've got to get to these kids before they make the decision to come to school with a gun," said Dr. Clayton Wilcox said.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools sounded off Wednesday in the wake of recent, deadly school shootings.

"Violence is a toxic addition to any environment. We in the schools can't continue to live this way," said Dr. Clayton Wilcox.

He's seen the school shooting in Colorado, the one at UNC Charlotte last week, and the incident at Butler High School earlier this school year -- plus the Queen City's homicide rate spiking to 49.

"It makes me question what we've done to prepare to keep our kids safe?" he said.

Many of the victims and shooters have been young adults.

"We've got to get to these kids before they make the decision to come to school with a gun," said Dr. Wilcox.

Police said many of these crimes are the result of people who resolve disputes with a gun. City and school leaders want to try a new tactic: Conflict resolution.

"When we find ourselves in conflict, do we manage the conflict, or do we allow the conflict to manage us?" said Willie Ratchford with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations.

CMPD plans to expand a program that's already been teaching people how to deescalate and find a way to walk away.

"To teach people how to resolve small, minor issues by talking, not by shooting," CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said.

The conflict resolution training is coming to classrooms across CMS. The program coordinator also opened it up to community groups that want help.

"We have to find ways to continue to deescalate disagreements without restarting violence," said Dr. Wilcox.


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