Special needs students cyber-bullied during CMS online class

Special needs students cyber-bullied during CMS online class

A Charlotte Mecklenburg School had to act fast after someone entered a virtual classroom with special needs students and bullied them online.

It happened to a young man that WSOC-TV has covered a lot in the past, Chancellor Lee Adams.

Chancellor Lee is the son of Cherica Adams and former Carolina Panther Rae Carruth. Cherica Adams was pregnant with Chancellor when she was murdered in a shooting orchestrated by Carruth.

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Just before Cherica passed away, Chancellor Lee was delivered during an emergency c-section. Deprived of oxygen, he was born with cerebral palsy.

That was 20 years ago.

Chancellor Lee is a young man who is no stranger to overcoming obstacles.

This is his final year in CMS and the curriculum is supposed to prepare him for the workforce and to visit potential employers on site. But this year, like many CMS students, his classes are virtual because of the pandemic.

Virtual learning has been challenging.

But recently, Chancellor’s grandmother, Saundra Adams, told Eyewitness News Anchor Erica Bryant that it became disturbing when a stranger made his way into the online class.

“I was very upset when it happened,” Saundra Adams said.

His grandmother says that Chancellor and his classmates were bullied and belittled by this person.

“Someone at the school evidently gave their password and information to a non-CMS student, and they bullied their way into the Zoom classroom,” she said.

Adams says the intruder then took a screenshot of the Zoom class and posted it on Facebook.

“(He) was just ridiculing some of the students in the special needs classes,” Adams said. “I know it made Lee feel very hurtful because he understood what was going on.”

Despite the harm done, Adams says no one was held accountable.

She says school district officials told her that they were not able to take any action against the young man that did the posting on his Facebook page because he is not a CMS student.

But Adams says Chancellor’s school “did” make changes.

Students had to take a cyberbullying class and sign a pledge not to engage in bullying. Teachers now pay closer attention to who enters Zoom classes, and if a child is not comfortable showing their face on screen during class they can turn their video off.

“I am glad the school took action on doing the class on cyber bullying because what happened was very hurtful,” Adams said.

Adams says she can’t say for sure how other students were affected, but she has noticed something concerning.

"I know that one of the students I have not seen back on a Zoom class since this incident happened,'' she said.

Adams believes the child may have been so disturbed by the incident that the child has not come back to class at all.

“I have not seen them,” she told Channel 9. “There could be other reasons why they are not there, but they were participating in the classes until this happened.”

Chancellor Lee Adams continues virtual learning as other exceptional students return to class