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Hawthorne Academy principal, assistant principal both suspended with pay

The district did not disclose the reason for the suspensions at the school. CMS has been reviewing the handling of allegations of misconduct districtwide.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The principal and assistant principal at Hawthorne Academy of Health Sciences in Charlotte have been suspended with pay, according to a Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools message sent to families at the school Tuesday.

The reason for the suspensions of Principal Diann Weston and Assistant Principal Nina Adams was not publicly released by the district. It was also not known how long the suspensions may last.

In a public letter to the community last week, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Winston said the district has a task force reviewing "how our district handles allegations of misconduct."

RELATED: CMS superintendent says district will address reports of on-campus sex assaults

Hawthorne Academy of Health Sciences is among the schools with recently-reported allegations of sexual misconduct on campus.

Earlier this month, WCNC Charlotte received an incident report from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department about two teenagers claiming a person attempted to engage in sexual contact with them at Hawthorne Academy back in September. 

When WCNC Charlotte previously asked CMS for comment on the allegations, the district declined to comment.

Earlier this year, a 15-year-old student at Charlotte's Olympic High School was charged with attempted second-degree rape, second-degree kidnapping, and sexual battery. 

In October, former Myers Park High principal Mark Bosco was reassigned to a senior administrator job with the district. Bosco was suspended with pay in early August. While the district never officially said why Bosco was being investigated or suspended, parents and students had previously protested over allegations the school mishandled reports of sexual assaults on campus. When Bosco's new job was announced, the district did not publicly comment on their investigative findings but Bosco's attorneys claimed CMS found no wrongdoing by Bosco. Tuesday, CMS confirmed that Robert Folk was named the new principal at Myers Park High.

Nikki Wombwell is a former Myers Park student and a sexual assault survivor who said the circumstances at Hawthorne Academy are similar to how she once felt.

“I can't help but see myself in this girl -- I was 15, scared, hurt and I needed help," Wombwell said, speaking during public comment at a board of education meeting. "I was met with victim-blaming and threats and the same has happened to this girl.”

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On Tuesday, district officials told families an interim principal will be assigned for Hawthorne Academy. Other staff will assist with administrative activities until that interim position takes effect, according to CMS.

A full report from the district's Title IX task force, which is reviewing the district's misconduct allegations, is expected in the coming weeks.

As WCNC Charlotte reported in August, there were over 1,600 Title IX violation allegations reported during the 2018-19 school year.

RELATED: Myers Park High School students still pushing CMS to improve response to sexual harassment, assault claims

The task force was created earlier this year.

At the district's board of education meeting Tuesday, Superintendent Earnest Winston also addressed recent incidents of guns being found on CMS campuses. 

"To date, we have found 15 guns on our campuses or transportation vehicles," Winston said. "That is unacceptable and reflects broader concerns that all of us as members of this community must be willing to address." 

Community members said they will host a school safety town hall in Huntersville on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. at Lake Forest Church. The goal is to get parents to voice concerns and thoughts about keeping students safe. 

RELATED: 6 Hopewell High School students charged after guns found following fight

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