CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Tuesday evening, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) Board Meeting began with a moment of silence followed by passionate pleas for change from parents and students.
“Our thought and prayers did not prevent these tragedies. And our moments of silence do not bring back dead kids,” a junior student from Ardrey Kell proclaimed.
Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox addressed the tragedy that unfolded at Butler High School Monday morning.
“To both of those families, we express our condolences and we want them to know as a school system that we’re incredibly sorry events escalated to the levels they did," said Dr. Wilcox.
Jatwan Craig Cuffee, 16, made his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon. The freshman is facing first-degree murder charges in the death of his classmate, 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen.
Police said Jatwan used a stolen gun to shoot and kill Bobby as the two fought in the hallway. Dr. Wilcox defended the school’s decision to lock down and keep kids on campus.
“We had an absolute responsibility to be able to say where their children were when they called,” he said.
But Dr. Wilcox he admitted to shortcomings when it comes to security, saying he’d already met with police and is reviewing all security procedures and expenses.
The board previously dismissed the idea of metal detectors, citing logistical reasons among other things, but now that conversation is starting again.
“I think we would be negligent if we didn’t at least talk about it and perhaps even experiment with it a little. We’ll probably also look at wands and random searches of kids. We’ll look at perhaps the idea of only saying you can use a clear backpack,” Dr. Wilcox explained.
But he worries, without airport-style security, weapons could still make inside these schools. The superintendent also said they are working with law enforcement to piece together what happened and why but couldn’t comment on the investigation.A Butler High School teacher responded to the shooting, explaining that they went on lockdown immediately after the shooting. According to the teacher's video, they remained on lockdown until police said the scene was clear.
Police will have an increased presence at all schools in Matthews on Thursday. Chief Clark Pennington will be at Butler High in the morning to greet students and staff.