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Dozens of 7th and 8th graders at Randolph IB Middle School in southeast Charlotte staged a walkout on Monday to protest the lack of response to sexual assault cases. The Charlotte Observer says the students planned the walkout after several incidents of sexual harassment and assault were not taken seriously by the school’s administration.

Savannah Henderson is the 7th grader who spearheaded the walkout in support of her friends. She told the Observer, “We want to get awareness for my school’s issues. We are protesting the lack of response to sexual assaults on campus.”

Two students who experienced harassment and assault told the Observer their concerns were taken too lightly by school officials.

The walkout started at around 11:50 am on Monday. It lasted about 10 minutes before school administrators told the students to get inside.

School principal Kevin Woods sent a statement to parents saying the school “respect[s] and support[s] the right of our students to advocate for causes that are important to them and welcome the opportunity to work with any student or student group to discuss appropriate and creative ways to do so while at school”.

In the same message, Woods said, “It’s important to know that disorderly conduct that disrupts school operations is not acceptable and will be handled compassionately but firmly in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct.”

This is not the first time Charlotte students have led a walkout for lack of support for sexual assault victims. Last summer, a number of Myers Park High School students marched nearly a mile. Their protest called for better protocols and better education regarding sexual assault reporting.

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