A female student at Hawthorne Academy High School was suspended last month after she allegedly reported that she was sexually assaulted by a male student. On Wednesday, students at the high school walked out of class to protest the suspension.
The student who reported being sexually assaulted said she was encouraged to report the event after sitting through a Title IX education class at the beginning of the school year.
The school, Hawthorne Academy High School, contacted the police under Title IX policies, and the male student was charged with sexual battery following a deeper investigation. Despite charges from the police, the North Carolina high school accused the female student of lying and suspended her.
Other students at the school then walked out of class on Wednesday to protest her suspension after they learned the school took disciplinary action against her.
Nick Ochsner, WBTV Chief Investigative Reporter, covered the walk out in a tweet: “[S]tudents at Hawthorn Academy HS are out of class in a “town hall” to voice concerns after a student was suspended for reporting a sexual assault.” He also mentioned that the school announced the “town hall” after students had already planned the walk out.
Ochsner also attempted to get answers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board, but they refused to answer his questions. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Wilson sent a statement to parents to note that reports of sexual assault are taken seriously.
He wrote, “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.”
He added later, “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.”