CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Olympic high school’s football team back on the field Friday night. It’s been a week since students protested outside of the school.
The students say they’re upset that a fellow student, charged with sexual assault on campus, was allowed to participate in last week’s football game.
According to police, a sexual assault was reported on campus on September 14th. Police charged a 15-year-old student, who was on the football team, with attempted second-degree rape, second-degree kidnapping, and sexual battery.
“The protest, I think, was very impactful and will change the history of Olympic moving forward,” said Olympic student Sereniti Simpson.
Simpson participated in the protest. Her volleyball coach told Simpson that she would be suspended one game for her involvement. Instead, she decided to quit.
“Seeing my team play games without me. Leaving my team earlier this week also a lot on my emotions,” said Simpson.
After the protest, the CMS athletic director made it clear that students facing criminal charges would not be allowed to participate in athletics during the investigation.
When it comes to student protests, Supt. Earnest Winston says, “I want you to be inquisitive and have your voice heard, but I want you to do it in the appropriate way.”
Winston would not speak about the specific incident and reiterated that the district supports student’s rights.
“We strongly believe that students should have a voice and have their voices heard,” said Winston.
But Simpson says Winston’s words don’t match the district’s actions.
“Handing out punishments to kids that were just pleading for a safer environment is a definite way of trying to silence those voices. And it scares other people who want to speak out into silencing their voices,” said Simpson.
CMS told WCCB that no students were disciplined for participating in the demonstration. Those who walked outside the school were told they could face consequences.