WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – New Hanover High School principal Philip Sutton said there will be no school Tuesday for students at New Hanover High School following a shooting Monday morning.
Sutton and New Hanover County Schools superintendent Dr. Charles Foust shared updates at a press conference Monday evening.
“This is a sad day for NHC schools,” said Foust. “[There is] nothing that matters to us more than student safety…nothing.”
Foust said in the days and weeks to come, an audit of what happened today will be conducted.
“When families send their children to school every morning, they trust us,” said Foust.
He said the staff at New Hanover High School took appropriate action during the incident and did everything they could do to comfort students.
“They put students first.”
Foust praised law enforcement that were on the scene in minutes to escort the children to safety. Also, he said in that moment that was frightening, the students followed protocol.
“In a moment like this, this is when we all pull together,” he said.
“We will be offering counseling and support for our students and staff to help them cope with this tragedy.” He added, “Our thoughts are with the student in the hospital tonight and with his family.”
New Hanover High School principal Philip Sutton said law enforcement is still investigating everything that happened and that the school worked in collaboration with the sheriff’s department and the city to get the students to a safe place.
“It is our plan for the students to not return to school tomorrow…it will be a teacher work day,” said Sutton.
Administration will meet with staff and then communicate to families the resources that are available.
Sutton said a crisis team will be available for students and families.
“[It is] another opportunity for our families and students to connect and talk to people after this very traumatic event, and it’s important to reach out and ask for help,” said board chair Stefanie Adams.
Sutton added that extra safety measures will be in place to insure student safety.
WECT asked if metal detectors would be put into place as an added safety precaution to keep other students from bringing weapons onto campus.
“I think that will be an ongoing discussion here in the school system,” said Adams. “But also it would be a partnership with our county commissioners and also a partnership with the sheriff’s department.”
Adams said they need help from everyone to make the schools as safe as possible.
“Our district is committed to putting everything into place and to being aware,” said Adams. “We have to ask of everyone, though, this is part of a community responsibility. If you see something, say something. Safety is not just within four walls — it’s all of us.”
A dedicated mental health helpline has been set up for this purpose: (910) 798-6501.
A 15-year-old student is facing an attempted murder charge after he allegedly shot another student following a fight at New Hanover High School on Monday.
The injured student was taken to hospital for treatment.
The press conference was held at the Board of Education Center at 1805 S. 13th Street, Wilmington.
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