CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- An assistant principal issued an apology to the Northwest School of the Arts student body Friday, after comments he made during an assembly sparked an online petition.
Students told NewsChannel 36 that Assistant Principal Marshall Gore was discussing Charlotte Mecklenburg School District policies during a routine assembly Thursday morning. They said as Gore began talking about the dress code, he singled out dance students wearing leotards and tights in the hallways.
According to the online petition, Gore “explained that wearing a leotard and tights in public places around the school would motivate the men to rape us.”
N.W.S.A. junior Catherine Toney attended that assembly. She said Gore’s comments offended her.
“He referenced all the construction workers on school grounds and said they make comments. He insinuated who would know what happened to us if they got us alone and how would he tell our parents,” explained Toney.
The 11th grader said even though her assistant principal didn’t use the actual word ‘rape,’ he did during a question and answer session at the end of the assembly.
“I said, 'Mr. Gore, the only thing that causes rape is a rapist. Even if we did break the dress code, you can’t say that causes someone to sexually assault us,'" recalled Toney.
She said she knew girls in the audience who had been sexually assaulted in the past and felt Gore’s comment came across as insensitive and uninformed.
“It might have made them think it was their fault. And it was not,” Toney said.
She insisted all that the student body wanted was an apology from the assistant principal. The junior told NewsChannel 36 she was satisfied with the Connect Ed message sent out just after 5 p.m. Friday, but admitted she would appreciate if he apologized to them in person as well.
CMS was not able to tell NewsChannel 36 if any additional disciplinary actions would be taken against Gore. A spokesperson said it would be up to the N.W.S.A. Principal.
Gore was not available for comment.