On Wednesday, students staged a massive walkout at Hawthorne Academy High School to demonstrate their outrage over the school’s bewildering decision to SUSPEND a sexual assault victim when she came forward with her claims.
Hawthorne’s administrators quickly announced a student “town hall” once they caught wind of the student’s plans to protest.
Over 100 students gathered outside to voice their displeasure, with many of them calling the school’s actions “victim-blaming.” Not only was the victim suspended, but she was also forced to sign a non-retaliation agreement against her attacker and must attend a “sexual assault is preventable” class before returning to school.
The girl and her mother have still not heard any explanation from Hawthorne for why she was suspended other than being told she is a liar and filed a false report.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department investigated the incident and ultimately pressed charges against an unnamed male student for 2 counts of sexual battery as a result of the female student’s report, a CMPD spokesman confirmed to WBTV.
School administrators at Hawthorne Academy High School accused the female student of filing a false report and punished her for speaking out.
This sent her fellow students straight to her defense, and they immediately began pressuring the school over their inexplicable handling of the situation.
Take a look:
Students are taking turns speaking. Many can be heard asking why the school disciplined a student for reporting sexual assault. Some calling it victim blaming. Lots of applause from students in the crowd pic.twitter.com/kcQLtsvxO3
— Nick Ochsner (@NickOchsnerWBTV) November 3, 2021
And here is WBTV’s video coverage:
Hawthorne’s administrators, as well as the members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board, have been silent since news of the incident broke out.
According to WBTV, who broke the story with their investigative team, they cant get a comment from anyone in charge at the district:
“On Tuesday, WBTV Chief Investigative Reporter Nick Ochsner took the concerns to Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board members, who refused to answer questions.
Ochsner first emailed the Hawthorne Academy Principal and spokesmen for Superintendent Earnest Winston and the CMS school board last Tuesday, October 26.
The Hawthorne Academy Principal, Diann Weston, did not respond to multiple emails.
A spokesman for Winston, Patrick Smith, would not agree to schedule an interview with Winston and did not respond to questions about how a CMS student could be suspended for reporting a sexual assault. But did send a [brief] statement.
A spokesman for the school board, Charles Jeter, did not respond to an email seeking an interview for the story.
When Ochsner caught up with board member Margaret Marshall, she wouldn’t answer his questions.
“I don’t have any information about it,” Marshall said, despite having received an email the night before with a link to the story.”
These officials are literally running away from WBTV’s reporters when they are confronted.
“Board chairwoman Elyse Dashew also refused to comment, first saying she didn’t comment on student matters and, later, asking a security officer to escort her out of the public meeting room and through the hallway in an effort to avoid facing further questions.”
They even got it on video: