A North Carolina high school suspended one of its students late last month after the student told school officials that she had been sexually assaulted multiple times on campus, according to a local news report.
The student, a 15-year-old sophomore at Hawthorne Academy of Health Sciences in Charlotte, told WBTV-TV recently that she had been routinely harassed by a male student at the school.
But when she reported the harassment to school officials, the school reportedly responded by suspending her and requiring her to take a class called "Sexual Harassment Is Preventable."
"He would, like, come into the bathroom and he would push me into the stall," the student, whose identity is being protected, recalled in an interview with the news outlet. "He put his hands in my pants and then he was, like, touching my breasts."
After hearing about the allegations, school officials reportedly contacted police. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department then conducted an investigation that resulted in charges against the male suspect for sexual battery in connection with the incidents described by the female student.
But the school resolved to also conduct its own investigation and, in the end, concluded that there was no evidence that any crime was committed. The school responded by suspending the student for filing a false report.
A CMS student reported being sexually assaulted. Then she was suspendedwww.youtube.com
The girl's mother, whose identity is also being protected, expressed outrage at the school during an interview with WBTV.
"The school did their investigation, gave me a phone call, and said, 'Hey, look, unfortunately, it looks like there's no evidence that what your daughter's saying took place did. We're gonna have to give her a day of suspension,'" she told the outlet.
"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 with CMS, so, unfortunately, we have nothing else that we can do about this,'" the mother continued.
She said the incident has left her and her daughter in shock and feeling like the school doesn't have an interest in protecting its students.
"They are making her feel like she is being punished for coming forward," she added.
WBTV reported that it has sent multiple emails to school and district officials seeking comment on the story, but those requests have largely been met with silence.
"District leaders review assertions of Title IX reporting problems and will take appropriate action in the event any review reveals action is necessary," a district spokesman said in the lone email statement included in the outlet's report.
Reporters for the outlet have also tried to question board members in person but have been stonewalled.
The girl's mother told the outlet she fears that the district's behavior will discourage other students from coming forward with sexual assault allegations.