Charlotte-Mecklenburg Superintendent Ann Clark has advised principals to let students talk about the police shooting that has sparked two days of violent protest, keep all outside doors locked and avoid confrontations with students who may be upset.
On Wednesday, Clark sent a memo to principals advising them to prepare for strong reactions from students and faculty to Tuesday’s fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer. Protests on Tuesday and Wednesday turned violent, with one person critically injured in a shooting uptown Wednesday night.
“Discuss with your staff ways in which students and staff may engage in healthy and culturally-sensitive discussions,” Clark wrote. “Promote cultural proficiency and sensitivity. ... Students and staff are to be reminded of the appropriate ways in which to conduct themselves at school regardless of their personal feelings about the situation.”
The memo suggests that principals review safety plans and ensure that all outside doors are locked. Nonviolent protests at school are to be reported to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, and principals were told not to physically restrain anyone who walks out of school.
“Monitor students closely in the upcoming weeks,” Clark’s memo says. “High profile cases may be triggers for violent behavior. Behaviors of concern include, but are not limited to, the following: anger and aggression, agitation, verbal assaults, threats, and withdrawal.”
CMS spokeswoman Renee McCoy said she was not aware of any school incidents Wednesday or Thursday morning related to the turmoil in the community. She said the district expects to keep schools open on Friday, on the premise that “we feel like schools are the safest place for kids.” But she said district officials are in touch with police and city leaders and will make a decision Thursday evening.