Past and current CMS students want new investigation into former Myers Park High principal
Updated 5:09 p.m.
A group of about 20 current and former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students gathered in First Ward Park on Thursday evening, calling for a new investigation into former Myers Park High School principal Mark Bosco, who has been criticized for his handling of alleged sexual assaults on campus.
Former Myers Park High student Nikki Wombwell said that CMS' findings in the full investigation of Bosco should be made public. Wombwell, who spoke at a rally, claimed in a lawsuit that is now settled that Bosco discouraged her from pursuing her case when she told him she had been sexually assaulted in the wooded area adjacent to the school.
"It is so much more widespread than a lot of people realize, especially adults; they don’t want to think this is happening, but it really is," Wombwell said. "It’s almost an epidemic in K-12 schools of sexual violence, and up until now it was mostly swept under the rug. It wasn’t getting the media attention it deserved, and I’m just glad this conversation has started."
Last week, CMS announced Bosco would not be coming back to Myers Park High School as principal, but is still working at CMS for the same pay—$149,462. Bosco accepted a position as the senior administrator for expanded learning and partnerships.
In an emailed statement, an attorney for Bosco said, “After a lengthy and thorough investigation of the facts, CMS finds no basis to conclude that Mark Bosco mishandled or failed to respond to any allegation of sexual misconduct.”
Wombwell said neither she nor her parents were asked to be a part of the investigation into Bosco’s time at CMS.
"Why are our cries and pleas not being addressed? Why don’t you listen to us? How many more victims is (it) going to take? How many more tears do we have to shed? How many more lives have to be shattered? How much louder do we have to be?"Serena Evans, former Myers Park High School student
Serena Evans, a former Myers Park High student spoke at
Thursday’s event. Evans says she was 15
in 2016 when she was raped in the boy’s bathroom of Myers Park High School. Evans said her mother reached out to Bosco about the assault but that her case was passed on to another administrator who discouraged them from reporting.
"Why are our cries and pleas not being addressed?" Evans said through tears. "Why don’t you listen to us? How many more victims is (it) going to take? How many more tears do we have to shed? How many more lives have to be shattered? How much louder do we have to be?"
The wooded area around Myers Park High School has been mentioned numerous times as the scene where multiple reports of sexual assaults have occurred. Evans was quick to point out her assault occurred inside the school and that other reports of sexual assault are happening throughout CMS.
"To those claiming that the woods in Myers Park are the issue, open your eyes, it says nothing about the woods in the recent Olympic High or West Charlotte cases," she said.
Another reason for Thursday's gathering was to highlight the ongoing issues of sexual assaults throughout the district.
Currently, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is investigating a report of a sexual assault involving two juveniles that reportedly occurred on the campus of West Charlotte High School on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, a group of students led a walkout of Olympic High School, protesting the fact 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.
Serenity Simpson was one of the organizers of the walkout.
"That day we marched not only for the girl who was hurt by that player, but to let all victims on any CMS campus know their voices are heard and not alone," Simpson told reporters.
Simpson says she and other Olympic High volleyball players were benched for their participation in the protest. In response, Simpson left the team.
"CMS later said that we interrupted a school day and that the protest was unsafe," Simpson said. "Personally, I feel that allowing people on your campus that hurt female students is a bigger safety concern."
Simpson said more precautions need to be put in place by CMS to prevent sexual assaults from happening. The group also called for more Title IX education for students. CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston has formed a Title IX task force to look current policies and practices.
Winston has said he hopes to share the task force recommendations in November.