The CMS Circle of Safety
CMS is always concerned about the safety, security and well-being of students and staff. The district’s goal is to maintain a safe, secure Circle of Safety for all students and teachers in every CMS school to teach and learn.
When warranted, extra precautionary measures are immediately taken to include additional security and other measures. CMS is implementing enhanced security and safety which include a range of programs, personnel, technology and facilities solutions.
All threats to any CMS school are taken seriously and investigated immediately and thoroughly by CMSPD, CMPD and CMS administrators. In North Carolina, it is a felony to make such threats, which is why all threats are investigated thoroughly and anyone found to have communicated a threat is punished to the fullest extent of the law.
CMS has emergency plans and each school has a safety and emergency plan which have been developed in collaboration with our local law enforcement and emergency responders to guide effective and efficient responses. Please be advised that students WILL NOT be released during any emergency response until all clear has been given by law enforcement and safe, orderly dismissal is possible.
When necessary, notifications and updates will be sent to keep parents informed of events or issues that may arise at or in proximity to their child’s school.
Security and safety protocols are in place at every school in the district and include:
- If you see something, say something - any person on any campus should immediately report concerns or possible threats to school staff for response.
- All schools are required to create and update a safety plan to be activated in the event of an emergency. While staff are trained to implement this plan, specific details in these plans are kept confidential to ensure maximum security effectiveness.
- At least twice a year, all schools conduct lock-down drills during which students and staff practice emergency procedures to block access to rooms. These lock-down procedures are evaluated for improvements after each drill.
- School Resource Officers (SROs) in schools are trained for emergencies and staff know to contact law enforcement anytime there is a perceived threat to safety and security.
- Schools across the district are closed campuses, meaning exterior access doors are locked and admittance controlled. Violations should be reported to school staff.
- Lobby area technology provides screening for all visitors, with alerts to staff provided when persons who should not be on campus attempt to be admitted.
- Counseling and support services are always available. Parents can contact school staff if they notice disturbing changes in behavior or think their children may need mental/emotional support for any reason.
- Additional protocols and procedures are in place at every school and CMS facility but are not disclosed in order to preserve safety and security.
- CMS, law enforcement, community agencies and partners will remain vigilant to keep students and staff safe in every Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools classroom, building and facility.
- Reach out for social / emotional support when you need it
- “See something, say something” about suspicious activity
- Watch for behavioral changes
- Use social media responsibly
- Understand and follow safety instructions and drills
- Be observant of traffic and surroundings at bus stops
- Expanded visitor, vendor and volunteer screening
- Lockdown and active survival training in all schools
- Locked entrances and monitored access points
- Facility improvements including new locks, fencing in key areas, reinforcement of vulnerable areas
- Expanded digital surveillance
- “Stand Up Speak Out Against Bullying" reporting
- Additional crisis and evacuation training
- Additional school resource and CMS-PD detectives
- Deeper background checks for employees and volunteers
- SafeSchool training for all CMS employees
- Expanded school safety plans
- Rapid crisis communications
- Increased mental health support
- Law enforcement agency partnerships
- Parents talk to students about appropriate items to take to school
- Ensure weapons are always secured and locked away
- Civic, faith and community mentors
- Community safe havens
- Look out for school buses and obey traffic laws