CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Nearly 150,000 students head back to Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools next Monday and they'll be greeted with several new safety enhancements from additional security cameras to electronic locks.
- The district is stepping up security with more cameras, locks and stricter visitor access
- They will also have 60 psychologists, counselors and social workers
- CMPD has also trained more than 375 CMS employees for active shooter situations
But what do CMS students think about these upgrades? Do they feel safe heading into the new school year?
Spectrum News talked with four students in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Youth Council who said they're well aware they're living in a world where it isn't a matter of if a school shooting could happen but when.
"Students have already brought an unloaded gun into our school. what would have happened if he had brought just one bullet? He could have killed plenty of people. We have to be more careful about what happens in our city,” said Righteous Keitt, senior at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology.
The district is stepping up security with more cameras, locks and stricter visitor access along with investing in additional mental health support. This year, the district will add 60 psychologists, counselors and social workers.
“You have to read the signs, you have to know who needs the help. You know sometimes they're not going to say it verbally, we're not going to see the signs coming,” said Carmen Sosa, senior at Harding University High School.
CMPD has also trained more than 375 CMS employees for active shooter situations, however, these students want individual active shooter drills for their own schools.
“I don’t think that's something that CMS can draw up as a general plan as all schools because I think every campus is different, every student body is different,” said Emma-Katherine Bowers, junior at Myers Park High School.
Another threat they're concerned about isn't happening in the classroom but on social media.
“Confident I can say over five threats [last school year]. People were doing bomb threats, bringing unloaded guns to school, bringing knives to school and not being responsible students,” said Keitt.
Police want students to speak up if they see something.
“If at least I say something, it'll impact someone's life whether it’s saving someone's life or getting the word out for someone to really understand especially with a situation about threats. Don't take it as a joke. Take everything serious as if it’s happening in that time period,” said Esi Bonney, junior at Hawthorne Academy of Health Sciences.
While none of these plans are perfect, these students say they feel better knowing the district is better prepared.
"I think we can work to be sure if that is to happen, in addition to trying to prevent it, that we know how to respond in the best way possible to everyone as safe as possible,” said Bowers.