CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Superintendent Earnest Winston sat down for a one-on-one interview with WCCB Charlotte’s Alexandra Elich. An interview weeks in the making.
Parents and educators are concerned about escalating fights inside schools and guns being found on campuses almost weekly – 23 so far this school year. A student fired at least one round at West Charlotte High School Monday during a fight over a backpack.
Elich asked Winston if he has the leadership skills to guide the district through this tough time.
“I do believe that I am certainly uniquely qualified for this line of work. I think one of the things that makes me uniquely qualified is that I am not a long-time insider. I did not pattern my career to ultimately be the superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. It was an opportunity that presented itself, I was interested and I’m committed to this work,” Winston says.
The district has spent nearly $450,000 on clear backpacks for high school students that will arrive in February. The district is also launching a see-something app after the winter break. Winston shared that he likes to take a measured approach to implement new safety strategies and sometimes that takes more time.
Elich asked Winston, “But I’m sure you understand from critics and parents standpoint that, to quote you just now, time is of the essence. Maybe if you do wait, we don’t want to a situation like what happened in Michigan most recently, no one wants blood on their hands. So does that also cross your mind, that time could mean a student, teacher staff member’s life?”
“One of the things that I understand and I’m very clear about is that this is an iterative process and so that’s why I thought it was very important that we move forward as soon as possible with the anonymous reporting app for our middle and high school students. That’s why I wanted to move quickly on the clear backpacks. Prioritizing high school students. We currently have a restorative practice in place in over 40 of our schools that help with creating healthy cultures and helping students deal with issues of conflict,” Winston adds.
You can watch more of this interview at 10 pm and 10:30 on WCCB.