A High School Student Reported Being Sexually Assaulted By Another Student. Then She Was Suspended.

A High School Student Reported Being Sexually Assaulted By Another Student. Then She Was Suspended.

In addition to suspending her, the school is also requiring that the student attend a class called 'Sexual Harassment Is Preventable.'

A North Carolina high school student was suspended late last month after she reported that a male classmate had sexually assaulted her, according to a local news report from WBTV. The sophomore student — who asked not to be identified — told the outlet that she decided to alert school officials at Hawthorne Academy of Health Sciences in Charlotte, North Carolina, about the routine sexual assault following a Title IX education class at the beginning of the school year. After she reported the classmate to the school, officials contacted local police and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department ultimately pressed charges against a juvenile for sexual battery in connection to the report, said a police spokesperson.


However, despite the police investigation finding the accused guilty, school administrators suspended the female student for what they said was filing a false report. "The child who did this to my daughter admitted to the police that he, in fact, did sexually assault her in a bathroom at the school," the 15-year-old's mother told the outlet. "The school did their investigation, gave me a phone call, and said, 'Hey, look, unfortunately, it looks like there's no evidence that what your daughter's saying took place did. We're gonna have to give her a day of suspension.'"


The outraged mother said she asked Hawthorne Academy’s principal, "If the police are telling me that he did do these things, he admitted to them, and that I have the right to press charges, you're telling me this didn't happen? And she said, 'well, unfortunately, what the law does has nothing to do to do with [the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools district], so, unfortunately, we have nothing else that we can do about this.'" When asked what was going through her mind during the disappointing conversation, the mother said: "I really just thought I had faith in CMS, that they were going to do right by my daughter. So when I got that phone call I was hurt."


Aside from suspending her, the school is also said to be making the student attend a class called "Sexual Harassment is Preventable." Speaking of this incomprehensible turn of events, the girl's mom said: "They are making her feel like she is being punished for coming forward." Recounting the near-daily sexual assault to the outlet, the teenager said: "He would, like, come into the bathroom and he would push me into the stall. He put his hands in my pants and then he was like touching my breasts."


The girl's mother is now worried what happened to her daughter could discourage other students from reporting sexual violence at CMS schools. "That scares me because she told me how hard it was for her to come out and tell this story to me to the school, to the police," she said. While neither Hawthorne Academy’s principal nor a spokesperson for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board returned WBTV's requests for an interview, a spokesperson for district Superintendent Earnest Winston didn't make Winston available for an interview and ignored the questions the outlet emailed his office.


In a statement, the spokesperson told reporters: "District leaders review assertions of Title IX reporting problems and will take appropriate action in the event any review reveals action is necessary." When a WBTV reporter approached members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board to ask questions about the incident, three members avoided commenting on the topic and another member had a security officer escort her around the building in order to avoid answering questions. A fourth board member said she had to eat lunch. 

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