Administration needs to listen to students speaking out

Story by Michael Messele, Editor in Chief

As students, we want to feel safe in the environments we are in, especially one like school. Over time schools have become a dangerous place with many school shootings occurring, plus bullying and sexual assault happening on school campuses. When we hear about these events on the news and across the various social media outlets we have available at our fingertips, we seem to believe that our school is immune to such things. Let’s take a look at our neighbor, Myers Park High School, one of the largest high schools in North Carolina.

At Myers Park  there have been six reported cases of sexual assault between the years 2014 -2019. This does not include the many young female students that didn’t feel comfortable to report their incidents, due to the culture that was cultivated under former principal Mark Bosco.The priorities that were established at Myers Park were ill-judged, with their focus and attention on student safety at the bottom of the barrel. The administration and Bosco were not taking a serious enough stance on sexual assault, which led to many students on campus feeling unsafe.


In recent months many students have participated in protests and have spoken out against the inaction of the Myers Park administration. With the growing amount of attention being drawn to this serious situation, many local news outlets have brought people up to speed on what has been happening. With the outrage that has been growing over this situation, this is the opportunity to make new changes in order to deal with the problems that face Myers Park and CMS. 


Some of the changes that must be taken are better implementation of Title IX training and education.  As students, we believe that all students should have the capability and right to a safe school environment. If we don’t change the behavior we have been accepting in our schools we will continue to ruin the experiences of many students.  Furthermore students should be able to go to adults on school grounds and be able to know that their allegations will be taken seriously. 


      Implementing these changes in our schools will be difficult but are necessary. CMS needs to hold those accountable that have been hiding from their responsibilities. They must also set a standard of accountability and justice in our school system, rebuild the trust with students and lastly rebuild the structure of which this behavior has been fostering under.     


Myers Park is not the only school that has been in the news recently. Hawthorne Academy and Olympic High School have been a topic of discussion, with female students reporting sexual assault and nothing being done about. At Hawthorne Academy the situation has gained national notoriety with the Daily Mail and VICE News covering the ongoing controversy. Dealing with the root of this problem is what must happen in order to change the environment in our school system, for if we continue to deal with the symptoms of the problem we will continue to see the same results.                      


We at East Meck are very fortunate that our administration and principal take accusations of sexual assault very seriously. We understand that we could easily fall for the trap that many schools in CMS and across the country have sadly fallen for. It’s easier said than done to create a culture and environment that is one that prioritizes student safety. Here at East, Principal Rick Parker has been an assistant principal for 10 years and our principal for 13 years and the positive culture he has built has taken many years. 


This process of creating change will take time and a new attitude. CMS must take the issue of sexual assault and harassment seriously, and must always take it seriously when a  student reports unwanted sexual advances of any kind. We must ensure that all students in CMS are in a safe environment in order for them to grow and blossom into their potential.