Carver Nation comes to school’s defense
Faculty members, students and alumni of Carver High School have begun picking up the pieces following an Aug. 30 shooting at the school.
“Carver is a safe school,” Superintendent Beverly Emory said at the school Monday morning. “This incident could’ve happened anywhere.”
She was joined by members of the “Carver Nation,” School Board Member John Davenport and Police Chief Barry Rountree, who said last week’s shooting, which resulted in one student sustaining non life-threatening injuries, arose from a conflict between two students with a “past history and disputes.”
“Based on our investigation, the incident that occurred this past Friday was an isolated incident,” Rountree said. “…No other students, faculty or staff were ever a target or were ever in jeopardy.”
Principal Ron Travis is imploring the public to not judge the predominantly black high school by a single incident.
“It was unfortunate,” he said. “It saddens me deeply as the principal here. It affected my babies, to be perfectly honest with you… (but) let me make this perfectly clear: Carver High School does not warrant any additional officers. We do not have a student body here that has to be guarded. That’s not the environment here. That’s not who we are.”
Monday evening, Carver played host to Reynolds for a highly-anticipated football game; the matchup was slated to take place Friday night, but was postponed because of the shooting. Reggie Jones was among those cheering his alma mater from the stands.
“I just thought it was sad. I was hoping it was just a bad rumor,” he said of the shooting. “It’s just a sad thing that the kids are toting guns now. It makes you wonder where we’re going in the future.”
Jones and his wife, Chevelle, rarely miss Carver games. Their son, Malik, is on the Yellowjacket squad. Malik Jones, who wears number 11, is a third generation Carver student, and his parents said this week that they have no qualms about him remaining at the school.
“I know the school didn’t do it,” Mr. Jones said. “…Anytime you leave your house, danger multiplies. You just walk in the hands of the Lord and He’ll guide us in the right direction.”
Band Boosters Micheala Fair, Mary Glenn and Crystal Thompson conceded that the shooting likely worsened the negative perception that many outside of the community have about Carver, but they say the incident was an aberration.
“It could have happened anywhere — it has happened other places,” Glenn said. “I think that they’re singling us out … because we are the black school.”
“The thing that I hate the most is it took this for more of the officials to be here,” Thompson said, referring to the many elected leaders and school administrators who attended the game to show their support. “It took this to happen for them to (notice the school).”
Carver alumna Ericka Nelums said her son Purnell III attended two other schools before settling on Carver. Nelums, a lab technician, said her son feels safer at Carver than he did at either of the schools he had attended previously.
“He loves this school. He said there was no place like home. This school is still a very well rounded school,” she said. “I live actually in the Parkland district, but I choose to drive all the way here for my son to go to school, because I know he is in a safe environment.”
Malishai “Shai” Woodbury, president of the Carver High School Alumni Association, said community support and concern is what the school needs as it presses forward.
“The community made an intentional effort to come out to the game, just to show that they still support Carver and were not afraid to come out,” Woodbury noted. “I think it really has empowered the community to stand behind Carver and do whatever we need to to continue to support the school and its students.”
Assistant Superintendent Carol Montague-Davis, a former Carver principal, said the outpouring of support the school has received is indicative of the circle-the-wagons approach the local community has always exhibited towards the school in times of trouble.
“It is just such a rich tradition here,” she said. “It’s such a rich family. It’s such a rich environment that cares about kids that we can make a difference with.”