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This week has been full of highs and lows. Monday kicked off with tremendous meetings with principals of early colleges in western North Carolina and then leaders in Canton. Tuesday we screened our full-length documentary on MerleFest to local and state leaders at Wilkes Community College. I can’t remember being so nervous ever in life, and it reminded me how much trust is placed in us to tell your stories with fidelity. On Wednesday, Nation was meeting with media leaders in DC to imagine the future of Reach NC Voices and its role in democracy as we know it. On Thursday, we found ourselves bearing witness to yet another shooting at an educational institution putting too many lives at risk and heightening already heightened anxiety. The trauma is real, and seeing it in the eyes of students and educators on the day of a shooting will wake you up to the reality of gun violence being normalized in our lives and the shame I feel that it is being normalized in theirs on my watch.

Today, it brings me great sadness to share with you that this is Alex’s last day at EdNC. You can read his (unedited) letter to you — our readers, his readers — here. He has written 1,068 articles in his eight years with us, leading and shaping how we show up in the world. He has been a steady source of support and strength for me day in and day out. From all of us at EdNC, Alex, we wish you well on your journey. I am so very proud of you.

EdNC’s Hannah McClellan — an outstanding human and reporter in her own right — will take on Alex’s beat, so we are all in the best of hands in the moving forward.

Back to the news and the shooting.

Yesterday morning, there was a shooting at Forsyth Technical Community College. At the time, there were about 600 high school seniors from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and Stokes County Schools also on campus. One of those students —  an 18-year-old who attends Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy who has been charged — brought a gun to the community college campus. One shot was fired: the shooter shot himself in the hand. He was transported to a local hospital for treatment of the non-life threatening injury.

The timing of the shooting heightened concern about school and college safety. The day before, legislators successfully overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of a bill that would allow some individuals to purchase a gun without a background check. Among other things, Senate Bill 41 gets rid of the requirement to obtain a pistol purchase permit from a sheriff prior to purchasing the firearm.

Carolyn McMackin, the chief of police at Forsyth Tech, said, “This was a scary situation for all of us. As the chief of police this is the call that we never want to receive.”

Resources – including access to counselors and social workers — are being made available to support students and others on campus who have anxiety and trauma.

To everyone involved in ensuring the safety of the students and faculty, thank you.

To President Spriggs and the Trailblazers of Forsyth Tech, to Superintendent McManus and Superintendent Rice and the students and parents in those districts, we are with you.

Here is your playlist for the weekend. Superintendent Jeff McDaris is always good to remind me — and you — to breathe, reflect, and dedicate. We will see you Monday.

These are the sources EdNC checks every day: The New York Times, The 74, Education Week, The NC Tribune, The Insider, The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, WUNC, WFAE, Brookings, Education Commission of the States, and DPI’s News. A cross section of diverse sources are checked weekly and monthly. If you have an article you think needs to be included, email [email protected].

Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.

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