There were 382 assaults on school employees by students during the 2011-12 school year, according to statistics released by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.Rex Cockerham, 61, of Cotswold, is a detention officer with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and has worked with criminals in Charlotte. His knowledge of local crime has led him to organize a free workshop promoting school safety to Mecklenburg County public and private school teachers and administrators. “In my work I deal with individuals on the 10 and 11 o’clock news, but the average person doesn’t know how much crime is really in our community,” says Cockerham. “Gang activity is very real and gangs are recruiting our youth and it has ties to crime and violence,” he said. Cockerham’s professional experience, along with the tragedies at Sandy Hook, Fort Hood and Virginia Tech have inspired him to come together with several other law enforcement officials to promote safety and awareness of potential dangers, such as gun and gang violence within our schools. “Seeing crime and violence covered in the media, it was a concern to me and reading the recent article published by CMS on crime statistics prompted me to ask ‘what can I do to give back to educators who give to our community and our youth,’ ” says Cockerham. “Education is close to me. My mother was a teacher. I want to educate school personnel on how to respond (to violence) other than locking the door or hiding under a table.”The seminar titled “Guns in School” will take place Oct. 26 at the Superior School of Real Estate in Ballantyne Village. The workshop will be divided into two sessions.The morning session begins at 8 a.m. and will cover current trends on gun issues within schools, gang and drug activity, identifying threats, legal issues of self-defense, the use of force to protect and tactical defense strategies against a shooter. New legislation passed in July allows concealed handgun permit holders to bring handguns onto school property, provided the weapon is kept in a closed compartment or container within the permit holder’s locked vehicle. CMS property, according to officials, “is any school building, bus, school campus, grounds, recreational area, athletic field, or other property owned, used or operated by the Board of Education.”This change in legislation took effect Oct. 1. School officials emphasized that, regardless of their permit status, the law does not permit anyone besides law enforcement officers to carry weapons inside school buildings, on school grounds or at school events.CMS said it does not believe this law is “in the best interest of our students, employees or schools” and school officials plan for continued discussions about the new law with policymakers.Presentations will be made by Cockerham, along with Sergeant Irwin Charmichael of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and Supervisory Special Agent Earl Woodham with the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Opening remarks will be made by Interim Chief of Police for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Randy Hagler. An optional afternoon session will provide information about concealed carry licenses.The purpose of the workshop is to help school personnel prevent and identify potential threats before they become a reality.“When you look at tragedies that occur at our schools, they are perpetrated by students inside schools. When you think about recent shootings, there have been security cameras, locks, ID requirements, armed security and it still doesn’t prevent tragedy from occurring,” says Cockerham. Cockerham believes the best solution to preventing a tragedy in Charlotte is through education. “Education is the key to a comprehensive safety program,” says Cockerham.
Friday, Oct. 18, 2013
Charlotte free seminar aimed at school safety
Want to go? The one day seminar titled Guns in School will take place on Oct. 26 at the Superior School of Real Estate in Ballantyne Village. The workshop will be divided into two sessions. The morning session begins at 8 a.m. and will cover current trends on gun issues within schools, gang and drug activity, identifying threats, legal issues of self-defense, the use of force to protect and tactical defense strategies against a shooter. For information on the Guns in School seminar, including registration, www.WhyBeAVictim.com.
Ashley Icard is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Ashley? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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