- A high school in near Charlotte, North Carolina, where one student fatally shot another on Monday, was criticised for resuming classes hours after the shooting.
- Clayton Wilcox, superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, defended the school’s decision Monday, saying that it was the appropriate thing to do to ensure that all the children could safely reconnect with their parents, HuffPost reported.
- Observers online said they believed the school’s decision to resume classes sent the wrong message.
A high school near Charlotte, North Carolina, where one student fatally shot another on Monday morning resumed classes hours after the shooting because it was the safest thing to do for its students, Tracy Russ, a representative of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district, told Business Insider in an email Monday.
“The decision was made after lockdown was released by law enforcement to help ensure the safety of students on campus until dismissal and transportation arrangements could be made with families,” Russ explained.
The decision by administrators at Butler High School to keep children on campus was met with some criticism.
The local ABC News affiliate WSOC reported that the parents who rushed to the school after learning of the shooting were visibly upset when law-enforcement officials informed them they could not see their children until after a campus-wide lockdown was lifted. Some parents were held at a nearby church.
One of the parents, Scott Simpson, told the Charlotte Observer that he was disappointed that the school would tell its students to go about their everyday routines after one of their classmates had just been shot on campus.
“They’re changing classes during an active crime scene,” Simpson told the Charlotte Observer.
It was not immediately clear whether the crime scene was visible to the students on campus.
Another parent, Wendy Foster from Matthews, North Carolina, was so frustrated that she could not see her child that she said she took action alongside several other people.
“When the principal announced that classes would resume … I was one of the hundreds of parents to say ‘Hell No’ and march past barriers to get to the front door at Butler High School to demand our kids,” Foster wrote on Twitter.
Clayton Wilcox, superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, defended Butler High School’s decision at a press conference Monday, saying that the students were held at the school to ensure that they were accounted for and safe by the time their parents could reach them, HuffPost reported.
“I want to ask each of you who are here to consider for just one moment what would have happened had we just let kids run off into the neighbourhood,” said Wilcox, according to HuffPost.” For parents who were worried about their children, what would they have said to us if they would have come to school and we couldn’t locate their children? I think their fear would have been magnified.”
Tuesday classes at Butler High School have been canceled, said Wilcox, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Butler High School, which is located just over 12 miles from downtown Charlotte, went into lockdown at 7 a.m. Monday after a student fatally shot another during a fight in one of the school’s main hallways. The victim, 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen, died at a local hospital later that day from his injuries.
In a joint decision with local law-enforcement officials, the school’s officials announced at 9:30 a.m. Monday that the lockdown had been lifted and classes would resume later that day. Students were allowed to be picked up by their parents but those remaining were urged to go to their classes.
Observers on social media said the school’s decision to resume classes hours after the shooting sent the wrong message to children.
There have been 297 mass shootings in the US this year, and there have been 65 school shootings this year as of October 4.
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