• Pineville Elementary School leaders suspended amid claims 8-year-old assaulted by classmates

    By: Tina Terry

    Updated:

    PINEVILLE, N.C. - Police are investigating after an 8-year-old girl reported two boys held her down and groped her on the playground at Pineville Elementary School.

    The little girl's mother told Channel 9 it took the school hours to report the incident to her.

    Channel 9 learned on Friday that school leaders have been suspended.

    The mother told Channel 9 she is disappointed with how the school handled the situation.

    She said the alleged assault happened at the beginning of the school day, but the principal didn't inform her until the end of the day.

    Once the mother found out, she notified Pineville police and asked them to meet her at the school.

    "Principal (Brian) Doerer said 'There was an incident with your daughter. Two boys tackled her, touched her in her private spot and pulled her pants down, and after our investigation we found out it was true,’” the mother said.

    The mother said her daughter was so upset that she went straight to her teacher after it was over.

    "She didn't like the fact that she was pushed down,” the mother said. “She didn't like the fact that her pants were pulled down."

    As soon as school leaders told the mother, she left work and went to the school despite the principal's offer to put her daughter on a school bus.

    She said she was the one who called police.

    Officers met her at the school, where she said school administrators told her they had interviewed her daughter about the incident.

    "You allowed my 8-year-old to sit in an investigation room with two other male adults without me trying to figure out if someone touched her inappropriately or not. That is not acceptable,” the mother said.

    Channel 9 reporter Tina Terry took the parent’s concerns to former Union County District Attorney John Snyder.

    "They did not handle it properly,” Snyder said.

    Snyder said the reported behavior fits the legal definition of sexual assault.

    He said the state law says, “When the principal has personal knowledge" of an incident like that on school property, the principal shall immediately report the act to the appropriate local law enforcement agency.”

    "The school should have followed that very clear policy,” Snyder said.

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials have not responded to Channel 9’s requests for information about whether law enforcement officials were contacted following the incident.

    The girl's mother said district officials wouldn't tell her if the children involved will be punished.

    "You can't even tell me if this little boy is going to be back in the hallways,” the mother said. “No, she's not coming back here."

    Channel 9 sent an email asking CMS if it contacted police and for more information about its policy.

    District officials have not yet answered those questions, but did say that both the principal and assistant principal have been suspended with pay.

    Police said they are investigating.

    Check back with wsoctv.com for updates on this story.

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