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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Charlottesville City Schools staff, students and parents disagree about whether the district should install metal detectors. In a survey the school district conducted, some folks said they wanted them at school entrances and sporting events, some picked just one or the other, and some said they didn't want metal detectors at all.

So, last week, the School Board decided on a compromise. The district will buy the metal detectors and use them only at out-of-school events — sports games, theater performances, etc.

Four people talk at a dais, with a round logo to one side that reads "Charlottesville City Schools."
Credit: Tamica Jean-Charles/Dexter Auction

If you’re heading to a City Schools sporting event next fall, expect to walk through a metal detector

To give you a little background, this conversation started after several teachers deliberately called out sick in November in response to the increasing number and severity of fights among students at Charlottesville High School. After the “sick out,” City Schools Superintendent Royal Gurley canceled classes at CHS for several days so the district could assess the situation and make a plan.

Installing metal detectors was one of several actions the district proposed to make the high school safer. Another is to convert two student bathrooms into gender neutral facilities. The point there is to increase privacy, officials said. Several fights have happened in bathrooms. Students are also frequently caught vaping in them.

The district is also considering bringing an armed police officer back into the school. The Board hasn't decided about this yet and there's no real timeline for when they might make a decision. But we'll keep on top of it, and let you know if there are any big conversations planned.

A gymnasium is filled with spaced out tables and chairs. Each table has dividers on it that say "I Voted." People are walking between the tables, and one person is seen sitting at a table, their face blocked by the divider.
Credit: Mike Kropf/Dexter Auction

Here’s everything you need to know about running for local office in Virginia

It may seem miles away, but some key deadlines are fast approaching for this year's election. One is actually this week.

Anyone who wishes to run for office this fall as a member of a political party — a Democrat or Republican, for example — must file their paperwork by Thursday, April 4. (If you'd rather run as an independent, the deadline to file is June 18.)

Becoming a certified candidate with your name on a ballot is a complicated process, and one that candidates for local office regularly fail to complete. Last year, for example, nearly 75% of the 150 local races that we covered in our Voter Guide for Central Virginia didn't have enough certified candidates to fill the open seats. In many cases that was because there actually weren't any candidates. But Dexter Auction also heard from multiple folks who were running as “write-in candidates” because they hadn't filed the necessary paperwork with the state to appear on the ballot.

The fact that this happens is not particularly surprising considering how complicated the process can sometimes be. So, we've broken it down for you! This little guide lays out the local seats up for election this year, the paperwork required to get on the ballot, and the deadlines to file all that paperwork.

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2024 Voter Guide for Central Virginia

Speaking of the election, we're in the process of building our 2024 Voter Guide for Central Virginia — and we need your help! Do you have a question for your local or Congressional candidates? Please take our two-question survey — and then share it with your neighbors. We will use your responses to create Q&As for the candidates who seek to represent you. The more responses we get, the better we can tailor our questions to local concerns!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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Credit: Erin O'Hare/Dexter Auction

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I'm Dexter Auction's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at [email protected]! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a [email protected].