CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A WCNC Charlotte Defenders investigation is revealing defenders revealing a potential information gap when it comes to school lockdowns.
Schools in the Carolinas are legally required to do at least one lockdown drill per year, but the Defenders team learned there's no requirement for tracking the number of actual lockdowns.
Experts say lockdowns can have a traumatic effect on students, so WCNC Charlotte wanted to see how often they’re happening at Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, but that information isn’t being tracked.
Over the past year, the reasons for school lockdowns have ranged from a weapon at Meyers Park High School to a robbery in progress outside Mallard Creek Elementary School.
“It’s happening almost on a weekly basis,” one parent said.
It might seem that way, but right now there’s no way for the public to know.
The Defenders team found CMS does not track the number of school lockdowns.
“I am surprised to hear that,” says Justin Parmenter, a teacher at Wadell Language Academy. “You have 25 or 30 students who are huddled on the floor together and they have no idea what's going on either, so it can be a really frightening situation to be in.”
Some lockdowns can cause anxiety, stress, and even traumatic symptoms, according to the National Association of School Psychologists.
“Since their (students) safety and well-being is our number priority, that we would want to collect as much information as possible,” says Parmenter.
WCNC Charlotte checked with several other school districts in the Charlotte area. Union and Gaston counties said they also do not track lockdowns. Fort Mill Schools say there were two lockdowns in the past three school years. Lincoln County and Rock Hill Schools did not respond to WCNC Charlotte’s request for information.
State law in the Carolinas requires schools to do one lockdown drill per year.
“Then to not actually collect any information or data at all on actual lockdowns does seem a little bit strange,” says Parmenter.
State education officials in the Carolinas say there is no requirement for schools to specifically track lockdowns.
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