Calls For Myers Park High Principal To Resign Ring Out Before CMS Board Meeting
A group of concerned students and parents gathered outside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center to protest on Tuesday. They were there to talk about a subject that wasn’t on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board agenda for the night — the handling of allegations of sexual assaults at Myers Park High School.
Maggie Huff was one of those in attendance. Surrounded by a group of friends, the 14-year-old said she’s scared. She’s going to be a freshman at Myers Park in the fall. The reason for her fear is what's detailed in two lawsuits that outline alleged sexual assaults in a wooded area of the campus.
"It’s just very scary to hear about everything and to know I’m going to that school and that kids my age had to deal with this," Huff said. "It’s very frightening, and I think it’s important to see a change now."
That change, Huff said, includes educating students of their rights under Title IX, the federal law that requires schools to have policies for handling complaints about sexual discrimination, harassment or violence. Another change many called for was the resignation of Myers Park Principal Mark Bosco. Both lawsuits allege Bosco discouraged students from further pursuing their complaints.
In one lawsuit, attorneys for "Jill Roe" alleged Bosco told Roe that "while she could formally report the rape to CMS, if her perpetrator was 'found innocent' she would be suspended for having sex on campus. Principal Bosco then implied she should let the whole thing blow over."
The second lawsuit filed by "Jane Doe" says Bosco’s comments at an assembly minimized the seriousness of sexual violence. The lawsuit alleges he told female students that the school could not protect them if they went in the woods, and male students were told that “you’re guilty until proven innocent because that’s just the price we pay for being men.”
Helena Bailey said Bosco should resign.
"I do not think that he’s fit to be taking care of children," Bailey said. "I do not think that he is fit to be shaping futures, and I don’t think that he is fit to be part of our community at all frankly."
Bailey is standing next to her friend Emmie Crowther. Both women graduated from Myers Park in 2018.
"To be belittled and put down by the people who are supposed to be there to help and protect you, it’s just all together retraumatizing and terrible," Crowther said.
Bosco has been principal at Myers Park High since 2013. According to The Charlotte Observer, in a June email to parents, he wrote: “I do want to emphasize how much I, and the entire staff at Myers Park High School, care about our students.”
After a report by WBTV on the allegations, the CMS board briefly put out a statement that defended Bosco and stated that the story “focused primarily on two cases involving Myers Park students and events that occurred in 2014 and 2015. Neither case was a rape.”
WBTV reported that the statement was posted on the CMS board’s Facebook page, which is separate from the school system's page, and it was deleted about an hour later.
With little information, students wanted to hear from the school board on Tuesday night. And students from all over showed up, including 16-year-old Michael Messele, a rising junior at East Mecklenburg High. He pointed out there were few men in the crowd. He said wanted to show his support for the women who have come forward.
"Really to support the young females that have been going through this, especially as a male," he said.
As it got closer to 6 p.m., many in the crowd began to file inside, knowing the topic wasn’t on the school board’s agenda but hoping to learn more about what’s being done at Myers Park High.
In a statement to WFAE sent in response to a reporter's questions on Tuesday, CMS board member Margaret Marshall wrote:
"As a former Myers Park parent, I understand that everyone should feel safe at Myers Park High School and at every other CMS campus. We all want schools to be free of harassment of any kind and the work of creating a culture of mutual respect is ongoing and always necessary. I am committed to this work and to keeping our students safe on all our campuses."