Child reports being sexually assaulted on school bus. Her mom says CMS did nothing.
A five-year-old reported being sexually assaulted on a school bus. Then had to sit next to her alleged attacker.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A concerned mother called WBTV for help after her five-year-old daughter reported being sexually assaulted on the school bus.
The incident happened in early February. Records show the girl’s mother reported it to school officials and police. But Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools didn’t take any immediate action in response; the district failed to even provide supportive measures it pledged to take.
Instead, the girl’s mother said her daughter was made to sit next to one of the two boys she said attacked her the next time she rode the bus.
WBTV is not identifying the girl or her mother to protect their identity, since they reported a sexual assault.
Records show the incident happened on February 6, 2023, on a school bus taking students to Croft Community School in northeast Charlotte.
“Parent stated that [the girl] reported that two boys had inappropriately touched her. She said one boy was trying to get her to kiss another. The ‘fat boy’ was pushing her face against the window of the bus. She told her mother that one of the boys ‘put his fingers inside my cootie and was playing around,” a school write-up of the incident said.
The girl’s mother told WBTV that in addition to touching her daughter, one of the boys also exposed himself.
“A little boy took out his private parts and showed them to her,” she said.
The mother provided hospital records showing her daughter was examined for a possible sexual assault. And a police report shows officers responded to the hospital to take a report.
Paperwork sent home from the school showed administrators would take steps to make sure the girl felt comfortable when she returned to riding the bus, including providing an older female student to sit with the girl and giving her preferential seating, in sight of the bus driver.
But the mother said when her daughter got back on the bus, she was sat right next to one of the boys who she said attacked her.
The mother said that was the start of a string of non-action on the part of school administrators.
“The school district never called me, and I think that’s what several days had passed when I reached out to you because I was like, you know, I didn’t know what else to do,” she said. “The principal, she wasn’t offering any help at all.”
This incident comes just weeks after newly installed CMS interim superintendent Dr. Crystal Hill touted improvements in how the district handles reported sexual violence.
“We’ve been really strategic in making sure that our compliance in terms of when things are reported, making sure that things are reported in accurate manner,” Hill said at a press conference in January.
She also touted the hiring of nine additional Title IX compliance staffers and an effort to ensure all school administrators are properly trained in handling reported sexual violence.
But the mother who called WBTV to draw attention to how her daughter’s school handled a reported sexual assault takes issue with Hill’s claims.
“Recently, the interim superintendent has said we’re improving how we’re handling sexual assaults. What do you say to that?” a reporter asked.
“I say that’s a made-up lie,” the mother responded.
A spokeswoman would not make Hill available to answer questions for this story but provided the following statement:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is deeply committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all our students. We take all allegations of misconduct extremely serious and do not condone any behavior that violate our Code of Student Conduct.
We are aware of the recent report and an investigation is being conducted to ensure the student receives appropriate support measures and that all policies and procedures have been followed.
We are working collaboratively with law enforcement agencies during their investigation and the (sic) our Title IX office is working with the school to ensure a fair investigation for all parties involved.
Onsite counseling services and other supportive measures have been offered for those impacted by the incident. While we cannot provide support that is outside of our control or is unduly burdensome, we are committed to making the necessary adjustments as unforeseen circumstances and situations arise.
We want to emphasize that the school followed the proper protocol when we were notified of the incident, and we have been working diligently to ensure that we are handling this matter appropriately. We want to stress that innocence is presumed innocent until a formal investigation is conducted.
We encourage anyone who has experienced any type of assault or has information about such incidents to report them to the appropriate authorities. We remain committed to creating a safe and supportive environment and will not rest until we achieve this goal.
CMS board chairwoman Elyse Dashew did not respond to an email seeking comment on this story or the statement issued by CMS staff.
Copyright 2023 WBTV. All rights reserved.