CHARLOTTE – One day after a shooting at Butler High School left one student dead and another facing murder charges, Luke Drago gave Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools a harsh assessment of how it prepared for the tragedy.
Drago, a student at Ardrey Kell High School, also told the school board Oct. 30 that CMS needed to add metal detectors, wands, security personnel, safety drills and increased access to mental health care.
“CMS failed from every perspective,” Drago told the board. “The inexcusable reaction this district has had to years of warning and years of shooting around the nation is at best negligent and at worst criminal. Our thoughts and prayers did not prevent these tragedies, and our moments of silence do not bring back dead kids.”
Drago described how his school corrals students who arrive early into an open space with multiple entrances. He compared students to “sitting ducks” and “target practice,” noting how there’s nothing preventing a shooter access to the school.
Later in the meeting, CMS Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said the district will review what happened at Butler, as well as security plans and access control. He acknowledged how the investment in high-end technology doesn’t address stopping intruders from entering the school.
Wilcox acknowledged how the district didn’t move forward with recommendations from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department about installing metal detectors and wands at schools.
“We did dismiss some of those things but after a lot of thought. It was not a quick dismissal,” Wilcox said. “It was a dismissal that was based on not just logistical controls but the fact that we wanted our schools to feel warm and welcoming.”
Wilcox said it was also based on past history. Two years ago, CMS reported 17 instances of a gun being brought onto a campus. All 17 were reported by students. And not one of them had been fired.
“We made some decisions based on past history, but clearly times are a changing,” Wilcox said. “So we’ll review all of our security processes, we will review all of our security expenses and we will come back better and stronger from this.”