East Chapel Hill High School Responds to Alleged Sexual Assault

A Chapel Hill mother is warning other parents after she says that her 15-year-old daughter, who is a special needs student, was sexually-assaulted at East Chapel Hill High School.

The mother told WRAL, on Friday, that two East Chapel Hill High School students forced her daughter to perform sex acts and recorded it on video.

There are no police reports or search warrants publicly available about the incident at this point, but Chapel Hill Police are investigating the alleged incident.

CHPD Lt. Josh Mecimore says, “We have an ongoing investigation involving a juvenile victim and juvenile suspects which occurred at ECHHS.”

The mother chose to remain anonymous to protect her daughter’s identity, but she told WRAL that she found out about the video from a friend whose daughter ha seen a video of the alleged assault.

Chapel Hill – Carrboro City School officials say they are aware of a video that has been circulating on social media and that they are cooperating with the police investigation.

The following message was sent out to parents of East Chapel Hill High School students on Sunday evening, according to school system spokesperson Jeff Nash.

“Good afternoon. This is Eileen Tully, Principal of East Chapel Hill High School. Friday night, our school was mentioned in a television news story centered on a student-initiated sexual assault allegation.

I wanted to take a moment today to remind our school community that this type of behavior, or any actions that bring harm to our students, will never be tolerated in our school. This matter is extremely concerning.

In the case at hand, I am limited in what I can tell you, but rest assured we took appropriate action at the school with those involved and immediately contacted the Chapel Hill Police for assistance. This matter is currently under investigation by the police department and we are cooperating with them fully.

Thank you for listening and enjoy the rest of your weekend.”

The mother told WRAL that her daughter had since switched schools but that she was still being bullied as students at the new school have seen the video as well.

We will continue to update this story as more information is made available.

This is the latest in a series of events that have drawn criticism at East Chapel Hill High.

In May, emotions were high after students at East Chapel Hill took a photo holding Confederate battle flags while on a class field trip. The picture was posted to Instagram with the caption “South will rise.”

Chapel Hill Police were also called to East Chapel Hill in June for a possible overdose when four students ranging from 14 to 18 years old required simultaneous medical attention.

And in October, homophobic graffiti was spray painted on the school targeting the school’s Queer-Straight Alliance.


Petition Requests Action on Homophobic Graffiti at East Chapel Hill High School

A petition is circulating asking administrators at East Chapel Hill High School to respond to homophobic graffiti being spray painted on the school last month.

More than 400 people have added their named to a petition asking East Chapel Hill principal Eileen Tully to take three actions in responding to profanity-laced homophobic slurs spray painted on East Chapel Hill High School on September 26.

The graffiti was spray painted on a building adjacent to a parking lot where members of the school’s Queer Straight Alliance were meeting up to carpool to the NC Pride Parade in Durham.

The open letter to Principal Tully asks her to “send a message to parents and staff letting them know that these kinds of actions are not permitted at our school.”

The letter also requests that Tully conduct an extensive investigation to identify those “who took part in this act of hate and to take the subsequent actions that are necessary.”

Finally, the letter asks Tully to call for a student assembly to let students know that “East is a safe place for everyone and that the school administration will take the necessary actions to maintain a safe environment for all.”

Linnea Van Manen, a junior at East Chapel Hill and president of the Queer Straight Alliance, told WCHL via e-mail that several school board members have committed to attending the next QSA meeting at East Chapel Hill.

Posts on social media say that Tully is also scheduled to meet with Van Manen this week.

The letter calls for Tully to act before the end of October or the group will ask the Lincoln Center to take direct action.


‘F*** Gays’ Spray Painted on East Chapel Hill High School Targeting Queer-Straight Alliance

**UPDATE: Petition Requests Action on Homophobic Graffiti at East Chapel Hill High School


Homophobic graffiti was spray painted on East Chapel Hill High School targeting a school club.

Profanity-laced homophobic slurs were spray painted on parking lot signs and a building at East Chapel Hill High School in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 26.

The spray painting occurred just hours before students in the Queer-Straight Alliance at East Chapel Hill High were scheduled to meet up to carpool to the NC Pride Parade in Durham.

A report from Chapel Hill Police documents the spray painting but does not detail the vandalism.

E-mails between East Chapel Hill Principal Eileen Tully and Linnea Van Manen, who is a junior at East Chapel Hill and president of the Queer-Straight Alliance club, have been provided to WCHL.

In the correspondence, Van Manen said that she came to school on the following Monday expecting the school to address “the hate our club had faced on our way to the pride parade,” but no administrators addressed the situation.

Tully responded that she did not address the student body because she was not aware that the QSA was meeting to carpool on Saturday, and, therefore, she “had no idea that there was a connection and thought that the graffiti was a random act of ignorance and hatred and not one directed toward East students.”

Tully added that she is “terrifically sorry and incredibly saddened and upset by the graffiti painted on the building.”

Tully went on to say that she would be seeking counsel from the district for appropriate actions and response.

Tully also agreed to attend a meeting with the QSA club at East Chapel Hill, on Tuesday of the following week, to discuss the incident. Van Manen tells WCHL that during that meeting Tully had several suggestions for how to handle the situation.

“She gave a variety of suggestions on things that could be done,” Van Manen says. “Among which were an announcement to the school expressing that the school system would not tolerate hateful things like that happening and also that she would bring it up at the faculty meeting.”

Van Manen adds Tully also suggested sending out an automated message to student’s parents, “to allow for students to talk with their families about it. And her words were to talk about it ‘around the dinner table.’”

But Van Manen says the club advisor told her that the incident was not discussed during the faculty meeting and that, as of Friday evening, an automated message still had not been sent to parents.

Van Manen says she would like to see Tully make a strong statement on the incident.

“I would like for [Tully] to make it clear that the school isn’t going to tolerate these things happening,” she says. “Because when these things happen, it makes the school a less effective learning environment for all the students because students are less inclined to feel safe at their school.”

Van Manen adds, during all of this, students and teachers have rallied around the QSA to show them support.

“[Students] were coming up to me and saying very supportive things and expressing condolences,” she says. “As well as, teachers began putting flyers up in their room stating that their rooms were safe spaces for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and their allies.”

Van Manen says she is proud of the way the group continued on with the plans to march in the pride parade in Durham after seeing the derogatory spray paint earlier in the day.

Tully turned down WCHL’s request to speak about the incident and the reaction from the school.

This is not the first time East Chapel Hill has been in a negative spotlight in recent months.

In May, emotions were high after students at East Chapel Hill took a photo holding Confederate flags while on a class field trip. The picture was posted to Instagram with the caption “South will rise.”

Chapel Hill Police were also called to East Chapel Hill in June for a possible overdose when four students ranging from 14 to 18 years old required simultaneous medical attention.

Police are continuing to investigate the spray painting. Tully told Van Manen in the e-mail correspondence that the footage from campus cameras showed the suspects spray painting but that the footage was completely blurred and unhelpful.


High School Football Preview: Week 3

This week WCHL will be at Chapel Hill High School cover the game between CHHS and Carrboro. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 o’clock.

Last year Chapel Hill beat Carrboro 41-19.

The Tigers got their first win of the season last week against South Granville 46-29. They were led by QB Conner Stough, who showed off his legs as well as his arm. He threw three touchdown passes and ran for another.

Carrboro is coming off of a close loss to East Chapel Hill last week 30-27. The Jaguars are looking to build off the momentum RB Greyson Magee built; the senior ran for 165 yards and four touchdowns. Despite his strong performance, the Jaguars still fell to 0-2 on the season.

Make sure to tune into WCHL for coverage of the game this weekend.

In other action, Orange travels to Riverside and Northwood travels to Jordan Matthews. Cedar Ridge knocked off East Chapel Hill on Thursday night 29-6.


Chansky’s Notebook: East Football Needs Creative Solution

This is today’s Art Chansky’s Sports Notebook as heard on 97.9 WCHL. You can listen to previous Sports Notebooks here.

It’s time for East Chapel Hill to drop football or merge its team with another school.

Here we are in July and less than a month away from prep football practice around the state. And East Chapel Hill High School has not officially named its new head coach. Supposedly, it is Ryan Johnson, the defensive coordinator on the Wildcats’ 0-11 team last season that had to forfeit three of its last four games due to a shortage of healthy players.

The team began last season with only 23 kids and was down to 16 when it forfeited the games that it would have lost anyway. Even the 35 who Johnson said showed up for the most recent spring workouts is not enough for a team that competes in the state’s largest-school category, 4-A.

Johnson will be at least the fourth head coach in the last 10 years at the prestigious high school that regularly produces state championships in soccer, tennis, golf, lacrosse and cross country. In fact, there is not another bad sports team practicing on the Weaver Dairy Road fields. Football, because so few kids go out for the team, has always been the exception for Wildcat athletics.

Since Bill Renner, Bryn’s father, coached East to a couple of winning seasons and built a respectable program, it has slid back into gridiron obscurity, where it will remain until more kids go out for football or the sport is dropped altogether. That would be unfair for those kids who want to play and play well. Drew Davis, son of Butch, threw for 4,000 yards on Renner’s teams and there is usually at least one Division 1 prospect on the squad.

Since proportionally fewer kids go out for football at all 3 Chapel Hill high schools, some sort of merger in the sport seems logical. Imagine how good a consolidated team would be, combining players from East, Chapel Hill and Carrboro High Schools. At the very least, if East were to drop football, its players should have the option to transfer to another school or, better yet, just be allowed to play for the Chapel Hill Tigers or Carrboro Jaguars.

That would save some money for the school system and actually improve the chances for the high schools off Homestead and Smith Level roads to post great seasons and go deep into the state playoffs. The traditional way of fielding a football team at East clearly is not working. It’s time for some creative thinking.


Confederate Flag Photo Sparks Big Turnout, Long Discussion at School Board Meeting

TV news cameras were squeezed into a packed room at Thursday night’s Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education meeting.

Many at Town Hall were outraged by a recent Instagram photo that has made national news. Two East Chapel High School students are shown waving Confederate flags, with the caption “South will rise.”

“The flag – the Confederate flag – there’s nothing cute about it, and how dare some of you try to whitewash it,” said NC NAACP Executive Director Michelle Laws as she spoke at the podium during Thursday night’s public comments.

She, like many others in attendance, was there to call for employees of the school system to better educate themselves on cultural sensitivity, so that they can pass those lessons on to students.

The Instagram photo, which has now become national news, was taken during an annual trip to Gettysburg, where East Chapel Hill High School students re-enact Pickett’s Charge, a disastrous battle for the Confederate Army.

One senior from East Chapel Hill High stood during Thursday’s meeting and gave her account of the Gettysburg re-enactment. She said the two students in the photo were simply the last left standing, as they were instructed.

Ron Creatore, the father of one of those students, had already defended his daughter on Wednesday, during a heated exchange with Laws at a news conference.

At Thursday’s meeting, he said that his daughter has been vilified and threatened for holding an object that never seemed to outrage the local community before.

“To my knowledge, there has never been any kind of uprising in the community about the fact that the Confederate flag appears three times in a book that’s being used in our school system,” said Creatore.

He also mentioned a piece in a 2012 issue of the ECHO – East Chapel Hill High’s student newspaper. It was titled “The Confederate flag is heritage, not hateful.” Creatore noted that the author of the piece suffered no consequences.

Greg McElveen, chair of the NAACP Education Committee, said the Gettysburg incident exemplifies the failure of the school system to teach in a “culturally relevant and equitable way.”

“Instructing students to make the charge … is almost like going to a concentration camp and asking the students to pretend that they are guards,” said McElveen.

Eighteen-year-old Taliana Tudryn, a senior at Carrboro High School, drew the night’s biggest ovation.

She spoke about the realities of being a student of color in public high schools, where AP classes are mostly white.

“We struggle with Ferguson, and Baltimore, and Durham, and Mike Brown, and Freddie Gray, and Eric Garner alone, in small groups” said Tudryn. “We may even go to marches and face riot officers and sound cannons, and witness others being beat by batons.

“Then, we come back into the classroom, and our white peers, our teachers, our administrators are silent.”

Tudryn shared some student proposals: annual assemblies at middle schools and high schools, with interactive presentations exploring systemic racism; and requiring teachers to attend Racial Equity Institute Workshops.

CHCCS Superintendent Tom Forcella concluded the discussion, first by noting that the school system needs to take a closer look at how social media affects students’ lives before they reach high school.

“First and foremost, I do believe our entire staff needs to take responsibility for addressing issues that seem unfair to any individual or sub-group,” he said.

As for individual consequences and disciplinary measures within the school system, Forcella reminded the audience that those must remain private.


WCHL And Chapelboro.com Present The Chapelboro Cup

The Chapelboro Cup will be presented to the Chapelboro high school football team with the best overall record at the end of the regular season. Bitter rivalries have formed through the years between the teams of Orange and northern Chatham counties. Four of the six teams battle for a conference title each season now with Northwood and Cedar Ridge making the move to the 3A Big 8 conference.

Chapelboro Cup Standings

Orange made it deep in the 3A state title playoffs last season, but Chapel Hill may very well be the team to beat this season. And, you can’t count out Carrboro or East Chapel Hill to play spoiler in any matchup.


In the event of a tie, the following tiebreakers will determine a winner:

1. If two teams are tied, the winner of the head-to-head matchup will be awarded the Chapelboro Cup.
2. If more than two teams are tied, or the teams that are tied did not play each other, the best team’s record against other Chapelboro teams will determine the Chapelboro Cup Champion.


East Chapel Hill High Graduates Celebrate Achievements, Community Service

Proud family members spent the morning at the Dean Smith Center to cheer on 328 graduates of East Chapel Hill High School on Saturday.

There was a total of 26 Valedictorian speakers, and two of them were designated as Principal’s Choice.

One of those two, Ginna Manzanares, gave perhaps the most moving speech of the day.

Manzanares is a recipient of the Advancement Via Individual Determination Scholarship. She’s the first in her family to graduate from high school.

Soon, Manzanares will also be the first to attend college. She’ll be going to UNC.

In her speech, Manzanares recalled that, not long ago, she was a disadvantaged senior with no idea how to even apply for college.

But with help from friends and guidance counselors, she enrolled in college-track courses, and now she’s on her way.

Manzanares got emotional when she thanked the person most responsible for her success: her mother. She said her mom was never rewarded by a diploma on the wall for all her hard work – just aches and pains at the end of a long day.

“Today is the day …”

She paused, and started to cry, as the audience applauded in support.

“…today is the day that the walls of our household will be decorated with a diploma,” she continued. “It brings me immense pleasure to have the honor to be the one to accomplish my family’s long-awaited dream.”

The other Principal’s Choice Valedictorian, Jennah Jones, is the recipient of four scholarships, as well as Science Department & Club Awards.

In her 2014 Reflections and Remarks, Principal Eileen Tully told graduates that while she certainly hopes they retain at least some of the knowledge offered at the reputedly tough school, she really hopes they carry the school’s spirit of community service with them throughout their lives.

“What I want you to remember is how your peers responded when you saw others in need or struggling during these past four years,” said Tully. “Chances are, you remember the same things that I do: kickball tournaments that were actually fundraisers for those faced with significant hardship…competitions with crosstown rivals to see who could raise the most money for the Wounded Warrior Project…”

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Superintendent Tom Forcella was on stage congratulating Wildcat graduates as they received their diplomas.


CHCCS High Schools Graduation Preview

All three of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City’s high schools, East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill High School, and Carrboro High School, will be graduating throughout the day on June 14th at the Dean Smith Center.

East Chapel Hill High’s ceremony begins at 9 a.m., Chapel Hill High’s ceremony begins at 1 p.m., and Carrboro High’s ceremony begins at 5 p.m.

East Chapel Hill will also be streaming their graduation event live on their website beginning at 8:30 a.m. until noon.


CHHS Wins Jersey Mike’s Challenge; Schools Raise $7K

Last weekend, Chapel Hillians gave nearly $7,000 to support programs at Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill High Schools – two dollars at a time.

The occasion: a weekend-long promotion sponsored by Jersey Mike’s to celebrate the grand opening of their new location at Chapel Hill North. Customers received a free sub if they presented a coupon (printable on Chapelboro.com) and donated at least $2 to either school.

Students, teachers and administrators from both schools competed all weekend long to raise the most money. (There was an incentive: Jersey Mike’s pledged to donate an additional $1000 to the winning school; the second-place school got an additional $500.)

In the end, Chapel Hill High emerged victorious, raising a total of $3,980.13. East Chapel Hill finished in second, with $2,992.76 raised.

Charlie Farris of Jersey Mike’s joined WCHL’s Aaron Keck on the Monday Afternoon News to reveal the winner.

Listen here.