Student And Parents Frustrated With CMS Handling Of Sex Assault Investigations

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is in damage control mode, suspending the principal and assistant principal of Hawthorne Academy after they were accused of botching their handling of an on-campus sexual assault report.

“The poor reputation of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools is well deserved, and well-earned at this point,” Attorney Laura Dunn said. “To be blunt I’m tired of suing the school district, I want them to change.”

Laura Dunn is the attorney for a Hawthorne Academy student who reported a sexual assault on campus in September. She says police charged the accused boy with two counts of sexual battery and that he later admitted to the assault.

Despite that, the school suspended her client for filing a false report which they later reversed.

“Its very damaging to victims of sexual assault to ever be threatened with retaliation or other action against them merely for reporting a sexual offense,” Dunn said.

Other sexual assaults have been reported at Myers Park and West Charlotte High Schools. Now Dunn is calling for change from the top down.

“How many times can the same school district be alerted by survivors that their officials are mishandling complaints routinely and commonly in a manner that only reinforces rape culture and victim blaming and not in a manner that actually eradicates sexual violence in k-12 schools,” Dunn questions.

Dunn says there needs to be increased training for teachers and administrators as well as policy changes and a cultural shift.

“This may not have affected your daughter, or your son, or your child, but it could, because the school district has not taken this seriously. So don’t wait,” Dunn said. “Don’t take time, get out, stand in public with the students who are bravely pushing this forward.”

During Tuesday’s school board meeting Superintendent Earnest Winston said there is an ongoing investigation but did not give any specific details.

On Tuesday night, CMS named Robert Folk principal of Myers Park High. CMS re-assigned former principal Mark Bosco to an admin position following criticism of how he handled reports of sex assaults on campus.