A school in Charlotte, North Carolina suspended a student after reporting about her experience of sexual harassment from her male classmate. The institution also asked her to attend a class dubbed “Sexual Harassment is Preventable.”
As per a local news report by WBTV shared by VICE News, the 15-year-old told the news publication that a male student “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.”
School officials reached out to local police, which “investigated and ultimately pressed charges against a minor for sexual battery as a result of the female student’s report,” as confirmed by a police spokesperson to WBTV.
While her mother said that the harasser confessed to sexually assaulting the victim in the school’s lavatory, its administrators still accused the sophomore of filing a false report and suspended her.
“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. We’re gonna have to give her a day of suspension,’” explained the victim’s mom.
“I asked the principal, I said, ‘well 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 CMS (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools), so, unfortunately, we have nothing else that we can do about this.’”
Just recently, various students came together to express their concerns in line with the incident. As per the WBTV reporter, they questioned “why the school disciplined a student for reporting sexual assault. Some calling it victim blaming. Lots of applause from students in the crowd.”
Happening now: students at Hawthorne Academy HS are out of class in a “town hall” to voice concerns after a student was suspended for reporting a sexual assault. (Story https://t.co/iuOPh3lXFy)— Nick Ochsner (@NickOchsnerWBTV) November 3, 2021
School announced the “town hall” after students planned to walk out this morning pic.twitter.com/Y99tvqpOUE
When asked by VICE News and WBTV for a comment, board members remained tight-lipped on the matter.