School violence is THE well-defined issue in Decision 2008

EQ (essential question): What is YOUR plan for attacking and dealing with violence in our schools, mob-fights, and the increased lack of discipline?


This is a likely question to come up at any candidate forum this year. And by far, in my opinion, this is THE headlining issue in Decision 2008.

If you’re reading this, and you’re a potential candidate in this year’s Guilford County School Board elections, then you’re on notice…because you’d better have a concrete answer to the above question AND you’d better have a plan to deal with this head on.

Otherwise, you might as well be supporting these guys:

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These individuals represent “the status quo” on our school board, and in my opinion, they have no business running for reelection. They represent the status quo because they have no plan for law and order in our schools. Remember, if they run again, they have a record.


My answer to the above question and plan for dealing with discipline in our schools in a moment.

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First, some interesting comparisons and contrasts, courtesy of today’s Charlotte Observer. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools actually expel students. Guilford County Schools doesn’t, according to recent published reports. And Char-Meck is doing it more.

Char-Meck school chief Dr. Peter Gorman has a get-tough attitude on those who break school rules, including bringing weapons onto school campuses. We could learn a lot from our friends to the south.

Excerpts follow:

Six more Charlotte-Mecklenburg students may face expulsion next month, part of Superintendent Peter Gorman’s push to improve school safety.

If the school board approves, that would mean 18 students expelled since August — the first expulsions in recent memory. The tougher stance has brought a mixed reaction, with some urging Gorman to remove even more trouble-makers and others arguing expulsions sentence students to a bleak future. Gorman and his staff will update the school board tonight on the pending expulsions, as well as 12 students expelled since August. Their report includes new information on students’ ages and offenses, including a 9-year-old who brought a gun and bullets to school. Because of the student’s age, the fourth-grader was assigned to an alternative school, rather than getting expelled.

All told, 10 of the expelled students brought guns to school. One assaulted a staff member. Another assaulted and injured a student.

Getting caught with a gun on campus previously resulted in a 365-day ban, but now there’s a difference. Expelled students must apply for reinstatement after waiting at least a calendar year. Trouble-makers used to re-enroll after simply waiting until a certain date.

“That’s part of what has frustrated people,” said CMS spokeswoman Nora Carr. “You had kids with very, very serious offenses who were well-known to students and the community, and sometimes folks were shocked when they returned.”

Nora, that’s what we’re going through up here.



“We want to bring more of the public back to the public schools,” school board member Kaye McGarry said. “We cannot do that if we cannot get this under control.”

That, my friends, is a defining quote. If we can’t get our schools under control, then how can we possibly do a good job at selling our schools to the public and the taxpayers? If you want a school bond passed this year, how can we do that when we see 50 squad cars in front of a school with officers attempting to break up a fight?



Others, such as Brett Loftis, head of the nonprofit Council for Children’s Rights, said expelled students are likely to land in prison unless CMS partners with the community to help them get jobs or high school equivalency degrees.

“We’re not helping the community. We’re just making a couple parents feel better.”

Board vice chair Molly Griffin said it’s difficult to find a balance.

“We all admit … we’ve lost these kids when this happens,” Griffin said. “But the bottom line has to be keeping the school system safe.”

It’s a no-brainer. Our schools must be kept in check and must be kept in control.


Final excerpt:

CMS has created more options for removing disruptive students from classrooms and still allowing them to continue their education.

More than 200 kids this school year have enrolled at a new 30-day suspension center in Charlotte, working with teachers rather than hanging out at home. And the number of 10-day suspension centers has doubled. Nearly 1,100 students have attended so far this year — up from about 720 at the same point last year.

District leaders said it’s too soon to measure how those students do after returning to conventional schools.


So returning to the EQ above: What is YOUR plan for attacking and dealing with violence in our schools, mob-fights, and the increased lack of discipline?


1. Audit, examine and strengthen existing school rules. Enforce the rules you have on the books and enforce them uniformly across all schools.

2. I would internally audit all of our existing alternative environments: In-school suspension, SCALE, etc., to determine their effectiveness (or ineffectiveness). Strengthen these programs where necessary.

3. Expulsions for serious offenses.

4. Examine the “Charlotte model” of their 10-day/30-day “suspension centers” to determine their effectiveness and see what can be duplicated here in Guilford County.

5. Expand partnerships with area churches and other local faith-based organizations.

6. Audit and examine miscellaneous programs to combat school violence: keep what’s working, toss out what’s not working.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. This is my six-step plan. It is simple and to-the-point. This election is not about who’s prettier or who has the better personality…this election is about issues. And I’m running on the issues that hopefully will connect with you, my voters, my supporters, and those who see a new direction for Guilford County Schools.

School violence is one of those defining issues. And on this issue, I hope I have your support.

E.C. 🙂


Incendiary devices found at Northeast H.S., arrest made (N&R)

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Northeast Guilford High School is in the news today as an arrest of a 16-year-old student was made yesterday for allegedly setting off two small explosive devices at school last week, according to Guilford County Sheriff’s officials, the News & Record reports this morning. Zwick Alexander Shaw of Brown Summit (pictured,  via N&R photo) was charged with two counts of possession of a weapon of mass destruction and one count of malicious damage of occupied property by use of explosive of incendiary. Shaw was also suspended from school. The news report says there were no injuries and the school was not evacuated.

This incident could have been much worse.

See this excerpt:

One of the devices, made of chemicals and a water bottle, exploded in a cafeteria trash can Friday during lunch, Chief Deputy Col. Randy Powers said.

“It was just a large bang,” Powers said. Originally, a school resource officer who witnessed the event thought it was a firecracker, Powers said.

The school was not evacuated. Shaw was identified as a suspect by school video cameras, Powers said.

While investigating the explosion Friday, officers and school administrators discovered Shaw also allegedly set off another device on the school grounds the previous day, Powers said.


E.C. 🙂