CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Current and former CMS students say the issue of sexual assaults at school is a district-wide problem that must be taken seriously.
A protest organized in First Ward Park Thursday gave survivors of sexual assaults a chance to share their stories and express the immediate changes they'd like to see.
“It is still happening, it has always been happening and people are only just starting to listen and pay attention," former Myers Park High School student and sexual assault survivor Nikki Wombwell said.
Wombwell and other survivors claim their reports of sexual assault were not taken seriously or thoroughly investigated. At the time of these allegations, Mark Bosco was the principal of Myers Park High School.
Last week he was reassigned to a new role in CMS.
“The long and lengthy investigation that found he did nothing wrong didn’t actually speak to any of the survivors," Wombwell said. "I was never interviewed, my parents were never interviewed."
Another recently reported sexual assault at Olympic High School also sparked protests as well. Some student-athletes who participated faced disciplinary action.
“I just handed in my jersey and simply told her I won’t be punished for protesting and standing up for what’s right," Olympic High School Student Sereniti Simpson said.
Ultimately, survivors say they just want their voices heard and their claims to be taken seriously.
“Why are our cries and pleas not being addressed?" former Myers Park High School student & sexual assault survivor Serena Evans asked. "Why won’t you listen to us? How many more victims is it going to take?"
This is the full list of demands the students are calling for:
- Release the full findings of the first investigation.
- Conduct a full, unbiased investigation with an external investigator into the entire Myers Park administration including Jeffus, Holt, and Bosco.
- Survivors must be included and listened to in the ongoing conversation around Title IX policy changes, and CMS must actually implement the changes the task force and survivors decide on.
- There needs to be K-12 education covering Title IX, sexual violence, informed consent, and students’ rights. There must be some way for students to report if schools do not follow the required curriculum and repercussions for those schools.
- Every school must have an educated, qualified Title IX liaison whose sole responsibility is dealing with Title IX cases, instead of assigning a random administrator to that role.
- There needs to be protection for students who nonviolently protest and campaign for their rights. No more threats and retaliation against students who speak up.