West Charlotte student speaks out after guns found on campus

West Charlotte student speaks out after guns found on campus


CHARLOTTE, NC — Nearly two dozen guns have been found at different Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools this school year, according to CMS officials. Data from CMS shows seven of the guns confiscated were stolen. 


What You Need To Know

  • According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials, more than 23 guns have been found on CMS campuses so far this school year
  • Data from CMS shows 13 different schools where firearms have been located. Six of the incidents took place at West Charlotte High School
  • Superintendent Earnest Winston has ordered clear backpacks for students, but said they are on backorder and will not arrive until February 2022
  • The district says it is continuing to look at metal detectors and body scanners as options for CMS schools, as well as working on an anonymous app where students can report firearms on school property

Data from CMS shows guns have been recovered at 13 different schools throughout the district. Six of the incidents took place at West Charlotte High School. 

A FOIA from CMS shows a breakdown of guns found in schools as of last Friday. (Credit: CMS)

Parents, students and school leaders are fed up and speaking out. 

Related story: Grandmother impacted by gun violence shares concerns about guns found in schools

Malachi Thompson, a sophomore at West Charlotte High School, said he was headed home from school Monday when the latest gun was discovered

“All I heard was people, all the students running from one place to another. So I thought it was actually a joke at first,” Thompson said. 

Students were fighting over a backpack, and then a student fired the gun, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. 

“How are students getting these weapons, and why isn’t it being detected when they arrive on campus?” he said. 

Thompson works as a youth leader, and is hoping to serve on the CMS Board of Education as the student advisor. He said he’s always listening to his classmates to try and come up with ways students can feel safe at school. 

“It’s difficult, and it’s upsetting, and you’re fearful,” Thompson said. “A lot of students as a matter of fact have contacted me from this morning to last night. They don’t know if they want to return back to school.”

The district has ordered clear backpacks for students to use after winter break. Thompson said he doesn’t think the solution is good enough. 

“Actually having more BMTs and more security on our campuses, and making sure we’re doing morning checks, afternoon checks [would be effective]” he said. 

Thompson also feels more of the responsibility falls on the elected leaders to keep them safe. 

“The issue that’s at hand doesn’t need to be mirrored back to the community when the superintendent and the board of education have the power to put these safety measures in place,” he said. 

Superintendent Earnest Winston addressed the district in a video last week and again after Monday’s incident at West Charlotte High School. 

He said there will be an “all hands on deck” approach from faculty and staff, but Winston is also placing responsibility on parents and family members. 

“Have the tough conversations about guns, other weapons, and fights. Check their backpacks before they depart for school,” he said in the video. “This minor inconvenience that might draw push back from your adolescent students can help them continue their academic journeys instead of entering the criminal justice system, and forever changing the course of their lives in tragic ways.”

Winston said the district is also working on an anonymous reporting app for students so they can report firearms on school property without having to go to a teacher. 

Students can call 911 or provide anonymous information to a school resource officer or school official. Students can also call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.





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