Last month, a student at Hawthorne Academy Highschool in North Carolina sexually assaulted a female classmate. Unlike many victims of sexual assault, the 15-year-old girl reported the assault to school officials, who also got the local authorities involved. A couple of days later, the school suspended her. This is her story. (1)
Highschool Suspends Sexual Assault Victim
An unnamed 15-year-old student of Hawthorne Academy Highschool in North Carolina recently became the victim of sexual assault. The assault occurred on school property at the hands of another student. She reported the situation to the school, who then also reported it to the police.
The young girl explained that the male student harassed her nearly every day. This daily harassment then one day became more. The boy decided to try and take advantage of her when she was alone in the bathroom.
“He would, like, come into the bathroom and he would push me into the stall,” the girl said. “He put his hands in my pants and then he was like touching my breasts.”
The police did their investigation in which the young boy confessed to what the girl said that he did. The authorities charged him as a minor for sexual battery. Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story.
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A few days later, the school phoned the girl’s mother to let her know that they were suspending her daughter. They claimed that her daughter had filed a false accusation and that what she said happened was untrue. The mother and daughter couldn’t believe it. After all, the police investigation included a confession and an official charge.
“The school did their investigation, gave me a phone call, and said, ‘Hey, look, unfortunately, it looks like there’s no evidence that shows that what your daughter saying took place,” the mother said. “We’re going to have to give her a day of suspension, and you know, so then that I asked the principal, I said, ‘well if the police are telling me that he did do these things, he admitted to them, and that I have the right to press charges, you’re telling me this didn’t happen? And she said, ‘well, unfortunately, what the law does has nothing to do to do with CMS, so, unfortunately, we have nothing else that we can do about this.’”
Not only did the school suspend the young girl, but they also made her attend a class called “Sexual Harassment Is Preventable”. The school says that they take sexual harassment seriously and that they want the students to feel comfortable reporting these assaults to school officials. Unfortunately, actions speak louder than words. As far as this girl and her mother are concerned, this is a lie that the school tells students. They have proven that they don’t actually have the students’ best interests in mind by the actions that they took in this case. Instead, they are making this student feel as though she is being punished for speaking out.
Until this moment, the school has ignored all requests for comments from reporters. News outlets have failed to get any information from the school’s superintendent and principal. They have also not been able to get any answers from the school board or school board employees. This is in spite of the numerous phone calls and emails that have been sent, all unanswered.
The mother is, of course, worried that these actions by the school will discourage students in the future from coming out and telling their stories. It may also encourage predators to know that accusations haven’t been taken seriously in the past. This is highly troubling, considering how hard it is already for victims to speak up.
“That scares me because she told me how hard it was for her to come out and tell this story to me to the school, to the police,” the mother said.
This is especially considering the fact that very few reported sexual assaults are false accusations. On top of that, the percentage of false accusations, which is between two and ten percent, goes even further down if you consider the huge number of assaults that go unreported. Hopefully, this incident, along with ongoing pressure from the victim and her parents, will create change in this high school and elsewhere. (2)
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