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‘Tired of being quiet’: CMS students protest against sexual violence in their schools



CHARLOTTE Local Charlotte News — On the same day that reports of a sexual assault at a Charlotte-Mecklenburg school became public, several students from all across the district gathered to protest the district’s response to sexual assault allegations.

Wednesday, a 15-year-old student at West Charlotte High School told police she was sexually assaulted while at school.

CMS says they are aware of the incident and referred all questions to CMPD. The Police Department confirmed they are investigating the accusations.

“It’s really awful to know that it’s still happening,” said Nikki Wombwell, a former CMS student who led Thursday night’s protest at First Ward Park in Uptown.

“Even after all these protests, after all this media attention and students are still getting assaulted on campus.”

Wombwell was one of the first students to come forward with accusations against CMS. She says she was sexually assaulted while still a student at Myers Park High School.

FOX 46 typically doesn’t identify victims of sexual assault, however, Wombwell says she wants others to know her story.

Wombwell says her claims were ignored by school and district leaders.

“I think that they’re trying to sweep it under the rug and hope that we’ll go away,” said Wombwell.

CMS has been under intense scrutiny for months over its handling of sexual assault complaints. Back in August, Wombwell and other students at Myer Park were among the first to make their accusations public.

Since then, the Principal of the school has been suspended, investigated, and ultimately reassigned to a different position in the district.

Last month, students at Olympic High School protested after a football player accused of sexual assault was allowed to play in a high school football game.

“It shows that it’s not one school and it’s not one person. It’s everywhere. And it needs to be treated like it’s everywhere and it’s important,” said Sereniti Simpson, a student at Olympic.

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Simpson helped organize last month’s protest at Olympic. She was later suspended after the protest turned into a walkout and she left the campus.

“To be punished for that, especially quicker than they could punish somebody under criminal investigation, is definitely surprising and it’s shocking,” Simpson said.

CMS has recently established a Title IX task force to evaluate how the district handles accusations of sexual assault. Both Simpson and Wombwell say more work needs to be done.

“Students are tired of being quiet,” said Simpson.

“We’re letting our voices be heard.”

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