NHHS principal addresses community, outlines new safety measures

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — On Wednesday night, New Hanover County Schools shared a message from the New Hanover High School principal to the community.

On Monday, a teen was arrested after a student was shot and injured at school.

NHHS Principal Philip Sutton said:

“Good evening, New Hanover Families,

On Monday, Aug 30, 2021 a  physical altercation occurred on the “catwalk” during the 2nd to 3rd block transition. During the altercation, a student fired shots, striking another student in the leg and hand. The student was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center for treatment. We are investigating all students involved in this altercation and we will be following district policy to ensure safety on this campus. Safety is our top priority. This is an ongoing investigation. Any student identified as a participant in Monday’s incident, or any such incident of violence, will not remain on this campus.

Returning to school today for our students, staff and families was no easy task, but together we were united. I want to take this opportunity to thank our students and staff for the way they have handled themselves throughout these events. Our staff showed up yesterday and met with the district Crisis Team to understand and take advantage of the resources needed to support our students. And this morning, that staff showed up again ready and willing to comfort our students and share the resources we have to help them get through this trauma.

We understand returning to school today was not an easy choice, but we appreciate the faith and trust students and families have placed in us. We’ve all practiced the drills, and many of our students and staff have even been in lock down or shelter in place situations, still nothing could have prepared us for the intensity, heartbreak, and fear of that situation. Our students handled themselves remarkably well under immense stress and pressure on Monday.  It’s something they should have never had to do and something I, our staff, and our district leadership are working to ensure they never have to do again.

In the wake of Monday’s events, students were introduced to changes implemented to ensure their safety:

  • Student transitions have been rerouted in order not to use the portion of the catwalk where the incident occurred.
  • The law enforcement presence on the campus has been increased and will remain that way as long as law enforcement deems it necessary.
  • School administrators have and will continue to review duty stations for additional visibility and supervision.
  • School and district administrators are discussing additional resources that may be needed to support ongoing safety efforts.
  • The district will continue to offer Crisis Team support as long as students continue to utilize these resources.

Additional changes and resources may become available as they are deemed necessary to safe-guard our students and staff. Though the Wildcat community will notice differences within and outside of our buildings, we will continue to rely on the support and comfort from those around us. Please look for opportunities to be involved on our campus; at this time more than ever we will rely on the partnerships and community that make us New Hanover.

Families remember to keep open lines of communication with your children. Talk to them often and too much. If you notice any behavioral changes such as withdrawal, irritability, or changes in eating or sleep patterns, or if your child is not comfortable returning to school, reach out to our Student Support Services staff and they will provide options for emotional and academic support for your family.

I will be reaching out to our Wildcat families throughout the week and well into the next.  Encourage your child to share important safety information with you so that you can make us aware. Again, safety is our top priority.

It is through strength and unity that we as a family will heal from this tragedy.

Have a nice evening Wildcats!”

Categories: Local, New Hanover, Top Stories

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