A little more than a week into the tenure of their third leader this year, North Mecklenburg High School students say they want answers about the principal shake-ups.
“We just don’t know what’s going on,” senior Carol Dukes said. “Everything is more hectic. I want Mr. (Joey) Burch back.”
Burch took a personal leave of absence shortly after the school year started. Last week, school district administrators put interim Principal Mike Matthews and Assistant Principal Joyce Lockhart on paid administrative leave.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials have declined to comment about why the two were removed from the school, but media reports have said officials are investigating the handling of a 17-year-old student’s report that she was sexually assaulted on campus. Investigators are reportedly questioning why the school did not immediately call in Huntersville police to investigate. No sexual assault charge has been filed in the case.
The Huntersville police report log shows the school told police about the student’s assault complaint on Oct. 20, two days after the incident reportedly took place.
Huntersville Police Department officials have not returned repeated calls from the Herald Weekly for comment on the case.
Northeast Learning Zone Executive Director Charity Bell will oversee the school until the matter is resolved. North Mecklenburg has now had three school leaders in as many months.
Several students at North Meck say they haven’t been told why their principal was removed, but the changes have left them feeling like strangers in their own school.
“It seemed like no one had a straight answer,” senior Julissa Shields said. “We have a weak foundation now, so I don’t know how it’s going to affect how the school is run in the future. … The familiar environment is gone.”
It’s unclear when or if Matthews will be reinstated as principal or when Burch will retake the reigns. Neither could be reached for comment.
But many students say getting Burch back can’t come fast enough.