Whalum calls for "shutdown" of Memphis City Schools - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Whalum calls for "shutdown" of Memphis City Schools

Kenneth Whalum at Wednesday's press conference. Kenneth Whalum at Wednesday's press conference.

At a press conference Wednesday morning, Memphis City Schools board member Kenneth Whalum called for all city schools to be shut down until the system could ensure the safety of students.

"Unless and until Memphis City Schools can assure the students, the parents, the teachers, the voters of Memphis that their children are safe in Memphis City Schools, and that we can at least prevent loaded weapons from coming into our campus.. (the) Memphis City School system needs to be shut down," he said.

Whalum disagreed with statements from fellow school board members that the system was doing everything it could to protect students.

"Why am I the only school board member who acts like there is a crisis? We are in crisis. This is a state of emergency," Whalum said.

Whalum referred to recent shootings within Memphis City Schools, including a shooting Monday at Mitchell High School that left a student in critical condition at the The MED, and another shooting last week at Hamilton High School.

"My heart sank as I was sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Los Angeles, California Monday morning and watched on a national news feed that a student had been shot in Memphis City Schools," he said.

Whalum said he asked Mayor Herenton call a "mayoral emergency" of some type to address the "crisis" within the school system.

At Lester Elementary, where a student was a caught with a gun Wednesday, parent Sandra Mabon questioned whether a shutdown was the proper course of action.

"First of all, you can't do that," she said.

Still, Mabon said, action was long overdue.

"It needs to be like it should've been seen years ago," she said. "Instead of so many police being out riding the streets, handing out tickets for no reason, they need to be in these schools."

It was clear to all that the problem would not be solved overnight.

You can watch Whalum's full comments in the player to the right of this story>>>

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