Vulgar graffiti found at CMS school. Did the punishment fit the crime?

Vulgar graffiti found at CMS school, did the punishment fit the crime?

HUNTERSVILLE, NC (WBTV) - Some teachers are concerned about the punishment of several North Mecklenburg High School seniors. They claim their punishment wasn't harsh enough.

In May, students spray-painted offensive language and a picture of part of a male's human anatomy all over the campus of North Mecklenburg High School.

Judy Kidd is the president of the Local Classroom Teachers Association. She represents several teachers at North Mecklenburg. They reached out to her about the incident.

"Initial word from the office was that everyone that was involved and identified would be punished and arrested," Classroom Teachers Association President Judy Kidd said. "And so faculty assumed that they were really going to stick up to it this time."

Huntersville police say the school principal and Charlotte-Mecklenburg School (CMS) District Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox made an agreement with the students and didn't involve the police. A police report wasn't filed.

"When you have an administration that thinks it's OK to give a pass for students who have connections," Kidd said. "And at one particular high school not to be arrested and not to be punished, but you go to another school and they are punished - it gives you cause for concern."

Kidd wonders do all CMS students get that type of treatment when caught not following the rules? Teachers say the kids responsible were suspended but allowed to come back to the school after school dismissed to take their final tests.

"They were suspended until the end of the year," Kidd said. "But then the teachers were somewhat punished.  Whenever they had to go in after school hours to administer the students' EOC (End of Course) and final exams and they were not compensated for them in any way."

Another thing upsetting to teachers is the students responsible for the vulgar graffiti get to walk across the stage and receive their high school diploma.

"They didn't want them prevented from being graduated or finishing," Kidd said. "They didn't want them to receive the honor to walk in the graduation line."

Terence Morgan attends North Mecklenburg High School. He says he was shocked when he saw the vandalism. He thinks the punishment should fit the crime and the students should graduate with their classmates.

"I feel like they should walk," Student Terence Morgan said. "But after that, they should still have some volunteer work."

People in the community saw pictures of the vandalism and call the images upsetting and disappointing.  They are also concerned about teachers having to stay after school to accommodate the students who misbehaved.

"They always seem to ask them to go beyond the call of duty," Debi Ault said. "When it's not really their job requirement."

CMS says it follows the Student Code of Conduct when disciplining students.  Punishments vary.  While no police report filed for the seniors who vandalized several parts of the school campus - there was a police report for a 15-year-old accused of doing the same thing a few weeks ago at North Mecklenburg High School.

"It just seemed that there's been a double standard applied at North Mecklenburg," Kidd said. "When it comes to taking care of issues of vandalism and misbehavior."

CMS Code of Conduct does allow students who have been suspended to return to school for special tests and it's up to the administration to determine if students will be able to participate in certain school functions.

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