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Education

Embattled Principal Of Myers Park High School Is On Leave, And Still Employed

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Jodie Valade
/
WFAE

At Tuesday night’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board meeting, new principal appointments were approved. So was the renewal of principal contracts. But left off the list was the approval of embattled Myers Park High School principal Mark Bosco. CMS called it an administrative oversight because while Bosco is still employed, he is on leave.

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Mark Bosco

Bosco has been the subject of criticism from students and parents after two lawsuits from two women detailed their experiences with Bosco when they tried to report sexual assaults they experienced on campus. Both women claimed Bosco discouraged them from pursuing the incidents further.

One woman says he discouraged her directly. The other says comments he made at an assembly discouraged her from coming forward.

And since those lawsuits, other women have come forward with their accounts of sexual assault at Myers Park High School.

Current, former and future students gathered outside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center before Tuesday’s board meeting to show support for the women and deliver a message.

"I would like Mark Bosco to resign," 21-year-old Helena Bailey said.

"I don't think Mark Bosco should be allowed to work around children again," her friend and fellow Myers Park High graduate Emmie Crowther added.

"Bosco needs to be fired because his handling of the situation is ridiculous," said 16-year-old Sophie Bertorelli, who goes to Providence High School.

Bertorelli's14-year-old sister, who also goes to Providence High School, agreed, saying simply, "Bosco should be fired."

Many also addressed CMS board members during the meeting.

That included a female speaker who urged the board to take action against the school administration. She told the crowd she was raped in the wooded area of campus when she was 14 years old.

"Not long after I was raped, two members of administration came on the morning announcements and warned of a large, black snake that lived in the woods and was biting students," she said. "They said, 'If you go in the woods and get bit, there is nothing we can do to help you. We are not responsible for anything that happens in the woods.'"

Bosco is currently on leave, which is why CMS says his file was not included for a recommendation for approval during the meeting. A prepared statement released Wednesday called it an “administrative oversight.”

Two officials with the CMS communication department said they did not know the type of leave he is on, when it started, or if there is an end date. An out-of-office email from Bosco said he will be out of office until Aug. 5.

The CMS statement says Bosco’s contract will be recommended for renewal at the next school board meeting.

Students who spoke at Tuesday night’s school board meeting wanted to know: what’s next — both for Bosco and for the students who feel they have not been heard?

School board member Rhonda Cheek said one step is to take a deeper dive into Title lX and the protections it provides for students coming forward with sexual assault allegations. She told the crowd that will be the topic of the next board meeting in August.

"I want to make sure there is not a staff member at CMS that does not understand how to properly handle a complaint that somebody has in the future," Cheek said. "And I want to tell those young women that spoke tonight that they were heard and that we will make changes as a result of what they’ve gone through."

She added: "Part of me wants to get a bulldozer and bulldoze the damn woods behind Myers Park High School right now. I don't have a bulldozer or I probably would go over there tomorrow."

Below is the full statement from CMS sent Wednesday morning:

The recommendation to renew Principal Bosco's employment contract should have been included in the recommendation that went to the board for approval on 7/13. Due to an administrative oversight resulting from Mr. Bosco being designated as on leave in our Human Resources information systems, his file was not identified for inclusion into tonight's recommendations for approval. His contract will be recommended for board approval at the next regular board meeting.

Mr. Bosco was not recommended for non-renewal at any time. Had that been the case, notice of non-renewal would have been provided no later than May 1, and board approved by June 1, pursuant to statutory requirements.

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Corrected: July 15, 2021 at 11:25 AM EDT
Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect the different circumstances of how two women say they were discouraged by Mark Bosco.