NC high school leaders suspended after backlash over handling of reported sex assault at school

North Carolina news

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – The principal and assistant principal at Hawthorne Academy of Health Sciences High School have both been suspended, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

The two suspensions within CMS follow harsh criticism from the community over the school’s response to a reported sexual assault inside their building.

Last week, a large crowd of students gathered outside Hawthorne Academy for about an hour, wanting answers as to why victims are the ones being punished for reporting sexual assaults in their schools.

A 15-year-old victim, who is a student at Hawthorne Academy, said she was sexually assaulted in the bathroom at school. She asked to remain anonymous.

“One day, he caught me coming out of the bathroom,” she said. “He pushed me back into the bathroom in the stall and put his hands down my pants and on my breast.”

After a second time, she reported the incident to the school staff.

“The school said they didn’t have enough evidence,” she said. “Even though he admitted it to police.”

She said she’s now the one being punished. The school accused her of lying and suspended her.

The incident occurred at the beginning of the school year in August. The victim and her mother tell FOX 46 the boy in question even admitted it to police.

“Police called me and let me know the student had admitted to sexually assaulting her at a bathroom at the school,” she said.

About two weeks later, school staff called — saying her daughter lied about the situation. They said since she falsified reports, she would be suspended.

“I don’t think they’re taking it seriously,” the victim’s mother said. “CMS isn’t taking it seriously at all.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools released a statement to FOX 46, confirming the suspensions:

“Hello Hawthorne Academy of Health Sciences Families,

This is an important message from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. We are calling to inform you that Principal Weston and Assistant Principal Adams have been suspended with pay. An interim principal will be assigned and we will communicate with you upon that assignment. District and/or learning community executive staff will be onsite to perform administrative activities until the interim principal is in place.

Thank you.”

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