Union Co. superintendent, school board, face criticism from parents

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Parents of students at Porter Ridge Middle School addressed the Union County Board of Education on Tuesday evening, amidst allegations of sexual assault and threats of deadly violence from students.

"How would you feel if it were your kids walking down that hallway, fearful that someone was going to hurt them?" parent Brandi Burke asked during the public comment session.

There have been 16 incident reports filed with the Union County Sheriff's Office this school year from Porter Ridge Middle. 

FOX 46 Charlotte received a text message from one frustrated parent, asking, "Why is the Superintendent not speaking up about these incidents?" FOX 46 Charlotte tracked down Superintendent Dr. Andrew Houlihan outside of the board meeting.

"It's an active investigation," Houlihan said. "I can't comment."

School officials are not allowed to talk details of ongoing investigations, per policy, but FOX 46 Charlotte tried asking questions about policy that, legally, the Superintendent is allowed to answer.

"Not tonight," Houlihan said. "I can't."

In Burke's case, her family is upset that a student who allegedly threatened to "slit" her son's throat was found on campus with a knife was only suspended -- not expelled.

"How are these kids able to bring weapons to school and threaten someone's life and return to school?" Burke asked.

Burke said she reached out to the Superintendent's office twice for a meeting, but was denied the request. Following Tuesday's Board of Ed meeting, FOX 46 Charlotte witnessed Superintendent Houlihan tell the Burke Family to call his office and he would arrange an interview.

FOX 46 Charlotte interviewed a Porter Ridge mother who claimed her special-needs child was sexually assaulted by another special-needs child in a school bathroom. That mother had documented medical records that pointed to a sexual assault happening.

Another parent claimed an alleged bully threatened to shoot her son. Both incidents were filed with the Sheriff's Office.

FOX 46 has been covering the issues at the school. Click below to explore our previous reporting.