CMS board chair won’t answer questions about recent sex assault reports
WBTV Investigates: Two five-year-old girls reported being sexually assaulted at Charlotte schools
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The chairwoman of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education refused to answer questions about how the district handled two recent reports from five-year-old students who said they were sexually assaulted by male classmates.
The mother of a kindergarten student at Croft Community School first called WBTV in late January out of frustration with how administrators at the school handled her daughter’s report.
Documents show the girl reported being sexually assaulted by two male classmates on the school bus.
According to records reviewed by WBTV, administrators pledged to take supportive measures in response to the girl’s report but then sat her next to one of the boys she reported attacking her when she returned to riding the bus.
The second case involves a student at Grier Academy. She reported being sexually assaulted by a male classmate waiting for the school bus.
Related: Child reports being sexually assaulted on school bus. Her mom says CMS did nothing.
Records show the incident was reported to school administrators the same day that it happened but a formal report was not made to district staff and police weren’t called. That changed after WBTV began asking questions about the incident.
CMS leaders have been largely silent in response to the two incidents.
Interim superintendent Dr. Crystal Hill abruptly ended an interview after refusing to answer questions about the handling of the first girl’s reported sexual assault.
WBTV sent multiple emails to Dashew, in her role as the school board chair, seeking an interview with her about the reports.
Related: Another 5-year-old CMS student reports sexual assault
She did not acknowledge any of our inquiries.
We also emailed each school board member individually, asking them to comment.
The only board member who has weighed in at all is vice chairwoman Stephanie Sneed.
“I know that you have a number of questions about these matters that may affect students. I have them too, for many areas but, but we must allow the federal defined procedures to be completed,” Sneed said in remarks at the end of a board meeting last week.
A WBTV crew caught up with Dashew in the hallway behind the council chambers at the government center following the same board meeting where Sneed made her comments.
Unlike Sneed, though, Dashew refused to answer questions raised by the parents of the two girls who reported being sexually assaulted. The mothers of both girls said administrators mishandled their daughters’ reports.
“You are speaking about something that is a confidential matter that we’re not permitted to respond,” Dashew said when asked about the incidents.
Previous: CMS chief abruptly ends interview about 5-year-old’s reported assault
Pressed further about why concerned parents are having to turn to WBTV after not getting a response from school administrators, Dashew accused the station of reporting on the recent reported sexual assaults to boost ratings.
“Nick, your job is to get ratings,” Dashew said, before suggesting the parents of both girls did not follow the proper procedure for reporting sexual assault.
“So they should follow the process that the district follows and that’s,” she said. “There’s an outlined process for these procedures and that’s happening.”
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