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CMS Superintendent faces reporters a week after Olympic High student walk out

CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston addresses reporters one week after a student led walk out at Olympic High School.
Sarah Delia
CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston addresses reporters one week after a student led walkout at Olympic High School.

A week ago, students walked out of Olympic High School. They were protesting that a football player who was charged with a felony sex offense was allowed to participate in a recent game while wearing a court-ordered electronic monitoring device. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Winston took a few minutes Friday to speak to reporters about last week’s walk out.

Questions around the consequences facing students who walked out of class last Friday have been swirling ever since. Of note, CMS has declined to disclose the exact number of students facing disciplinary action for participating in the walkout. According to multiple reports, some members of the girls varsity volleyball team were given game suspensions because of their participation.

Winston was at Olympic High School on Friday to promote a program at the school, but reporter questions focused on the walkout. Winston has been publicly silent on the matter. He told reporters Friday that he supports students voicing opinions, when done the right way.

"I want you to be inquisitive and have your voice heard but I wanted to do it in the appropriate way," he said.

Winston added he has information he cannot share that gives him a more comprehensive view of the circumstances pertaining to last week’s student walkout.

Winston was asked multiple times about the pressure last week’s student walkout put on potential policy changes.

"Whenever incidents happen, it provides an opportunity to review and look at your policies and the procedures and practices that are in place," he told reporters.

Last week, CMS athletic director Ericia Turner said that moving forward, any student-athlete arrested or charged with a criminal offense would be barred from playing while the charges are a pending.

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Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.