CHARLOTTE — Demonstrators took a stand on Thursday against sexual violence in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools by holding a protest in First Ward Park.
It all surrounds how current and former students say the district handles sexual assault allegations and investigations.
“How many more lives have to be shattered? How much louder do we have to be,” Serena Evans said at the protest.
Evans joined other sexual assault survivors from Myers Park High School to demand that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools do better. She said in 2016, she was a freshman and raped after school before her tennis match, but when she reported it, she said Myers Park administrators tried to keep it quiet.
“We were also told if we were to go through with an investigation and my rapist was found not guilty I would be suspended because the rape occurred in the boys bathroom,” Evans said.
Thursday’s protest came in response to the new job reassignment of former Myers Park principal, Mark Bosco, who was accused of mishandling multiple sexual assault allegations.
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Bosco has maintained that he never mishandled any cases and a district investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Bosco was recently reassigned to a newly created position in the district, keeping his salary.
While CMS called it a lengthy and thorough investigation, survivors call it a slap in the face.
“It was insulting to say the least,” Evans said.
Survivors question the integrity of the investigation because they were never contacted about it or interviewed.
“The victims were never interviewed, neither were our parents,” a survivor said.
A local therapist joined survivors and current students in calling for an external investigation into how cases have been handled. They’re calling for a dedicated Title IX liaison to be at each campus to make sure student rights are protected.
What started as a call for Myers Park to be investigated has become a district-wide concern.
“With things happening at Olympic and West Charlotte, it makes me think it might need to be CMS wide,” a survivor said.
In September, Channel 9 saw hundreds of Olympic Park High School students protesting after a student accused of assault was allowed to play in a football game with an ankle monitor on.
The district admits that was a mistake, but then punished the women who protested. Several volleyball players were benched for participating in the protest.
“I handed in my jersey immediately, because I will not be punished for protesting what is right,” one player said.
Current Myers Park students and activists spoke Thursday saying teachers have told them to stop speaking out about these issues because it could jeopardise where they go to college.
They said that type of messaging is exactly the problem, especially in a district where survivors said there hasn’t been enough action.
“Our pain, our cries and still nothing. There’s been two assaults within the past two weeks and still nothing,” Evans said.
(WATCH BELOW: Suspended Myers Park HS principal to take on different role within CMS)
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