Students at a North Carolina High School walked out of class in protest on Wednesday after learning the school administration suspended a student after that student reported they had been sexually assaulted.
Hawthorne Academy High School in Charlotte had a crowd of over 100 students gathered outside to voice concerns regarding how the school handled allegations of sexual violence, according to WBTV.
Hawthorne Academy High School suspended the female student last month after reporting to faculty that she was sexually assaulted by a male student.
The student told WBTV that the Title IX education class she sat through at the start of the school year encouraged her to report the sexual assault.
Under Title IX policies, the school contacted the police and after further investigation the male student was charged with sexual battery. However, the school accused the female student of lying despite the charges from police and suspended her.
Nick Ochsner, WBTV Chief Investigative Reporter, confronted the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board attempting to get answers from multiple board members but they refused to answer his questions.
A spokesperson for the school district sent a statement to WBTV and said the school carefully reviews Title IX reports and takes action when "necessary."
"District leaders review assertions of Title IX reporting problems and will take appropriate action in the event any review reveals action is necessary," Patrick Smith said in an email to WBTV.
Earnest Wilson, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent, sent a statement to parents which indicated that the district takes reports of sexual assault seriously.
"As a parent, I understand the concerns many families are sharing about news coverage of incidents of misconduct. It is difficult for me to not give in to the parental instinct of providing information to help others gain a better understanding of situations, which many times prove more complex than news reports might lead one to conclude."
"As the leader of the district, I am bound by law to not disclose confidential information about such matters as individual student discipline or ongoing police investigations."
"We take all allegations of misconduct very seriously, and our staff is trained to follow proper procedures in reporting. District leaders review assertions of Title IX reporting problems and will take appropriate action in the event any review reveals action is necessary."
"Earlier this year, I requested the creation of a Title IX task force. That task force has been working together to discuss recommended improvements in how our district handles allegations of misconduct. In a few weeks, I will receive a report from the task force. I will review the report for recommendations to make our schools safer," Wilson concluded.
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