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Dudley High Community comes together post-shooting incident


Dr. Marcus Gause, DHS Principal. Photo by Ivan Saul Cutler/Carolina Peacemaker.
New safety measures will be implemented at all Guilford County high school sporting events, was the main takeaway during a community Town Hall meeting at James B. Dudley High School (DHS) on Monday. The meeting was spurred by a shooting that occurred on the high school grounds after last Friday night’s football game.

Community members gathered at the school on October 2 to discuss safety options moving forward.

Dr. Marcus Gause, DHS Principal, addressed an audience of about 100 concerned community members, leaders, business owners, clergy members and police officers Monday night inside Dudley’s auditorium. He encouraged parents to continue to be involved and expressed his concern for how the students have been feeling after this tragic incident.

“The tears I saw today and heard how they were feeling angered me and hurt me. Because regardless of the times, I don’t expect that to happen here, to our amazing students here. We have to heal them, and we have to protect them,” he said.

Parents, students, and community members passionately spoke about their concerns and ideas about safety measures going forward.

People gave suggestions such as stopping who can come onto campus during a game after a certain time, restricting loitering in the parking lot after the games end, and recruiting more parent volunteers to help with crowd control.

Deena Hayes, Chairperson of the Guilford County Board of Education. Photo by Photos by Ivan Saul Cutler/Carolina Peacemaker.
Ch-hara Pearson, a parent of a senior and a sophomore at Dudley said the phone call she received about the shooting was a call no parent ever wants to receive. She said gun violence among youth is a bigger symptom of youth not having the things they need at home to ultimately thrive in life.

“Truth is, this starts at home. What’s happening to our youth in their home lives is something everyone should be concerned about. I hope to see more parent involvement after this. Having those conversations at home about mental health and what’s bothering them because it starts there. We can’t put all the pressure on the schools to do something. We have to look at this as a community problem, because our schools are part of our communities,” said Pearson.

Olivia Johnson, a senior at Dudley and president of the Student Government Association (SGA) executive board noted that many students are trying to provide each other with emotional support, and they are setting aside time to “check in” with peers.

“This meeting showed me that we have a lot of community support and that it’s okay to have those hard conversations. Dudley is a family, and we are part of a legacy. Knowing what being a Panther means, it means we have to build community amongst ourselves too,” said Johnson.

Deena Hayes, GCS Board of Education Chairperson also agreed with Pearson saying this is not just a school issue, but also a community and a school district issue.

Hayes emphasized that while this unfortunate incident occurred on school grounds, it physically and emotionally hurt Dudley High School students, parents, supporters and the community. “They were the victims,” said Hayes.

“We have to address the gun culture, we have to address mental health needs, and we have to address the concentrated poverty in our impacted communities,” said Hayes.

The shooting incident under discussion happened on Friday, September 29, after the Dudley High versus Smith High football game. The incident happened in the parking lot, within 50 feet of two police patrol cars, with flashing lights, said school officials. Police have identified the fatally wounded victim as 59-year-old Matthew Wayne Grant, a North Carolina High School Athletics Association official who was attending the game as a spectator.

Sharnetta Roseborough, Class of 1998. Photo by Ivan Saul Cutler/Carolina Peacemaker.
According to police reports, officers also found a second shooting victim — a male juvenile — who was treated and later released from the hospital, and a female juvenile who sustained minor injuries from shrapnel. The suspect’s vehicle also struck two pedestrians, who were both taken to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries. No names or further details on a suspect have been released by police yet.

Guilford County Schools released a statement on Monday evening, after the community meeting. The statement listed more than a dozen new tactics for a comprehensive school safety strategy that will now be implemented. That strategy includes: significantly expanding and restructuring the district’s school safety and emergency management office; upgrading more than 2,000 cameras with advanced technology; installing school bus cameras across the district; adding touchless security scanners at all of the comprehensive middle and high schools; employing safe entry points at athletic events; implementing a clear bag policy at athletic events; partnering and training with local law enforcement, Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Management and fire department officials; installing anonymous reporting capabilities on all district devices in grades three and up; adding mental health supports for students and staff; engaging students in leadership about this important issue; revising the district’s code of conduct; providing staffing incentives for athletic events; and implementing anti-bullying training and reporting procedures for staff.

Dudley students will continue to have access to mental health and counseling services throughout the week, according to school officials.

The Dudley High School Homecoming football game will take place Saturday, Oct. 5 at noon. Homecoming activities will take place the week of Oct. 16.