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Fort Mill Area News

Parents upset after 'Wall of Ugly' teacher named teacher of month

Some parents of students at a charter school in Huntersville said they’re upset that the school allowed students to name a teacher involved in a racially-charged project as teacher of the month.

The parents spoke after learning that students at Lake Norman Charter School had voted to give the honor to a biology teacher.

Two months ago the teacher had initiated an experiment asking students to draw what their randomly mixed children might look like.

The result was a poster called the “Wall of Ugly” that led to an apology by school administrators.

READ: 'Wall of Ugly' display at high school angers parents

“They apologized and then turned around (and) allowed that teacher to be teacher of the month,” said one parent who did not want to be identified.

“The school is showing us they aren't taking ownership of the diversity issue,” she added.

A school spokeswoman said the school did not endorse the selection, but let students vote on their favorite teacher.  

Lake Norman Charter is having a Cross Cultural Town Hall Meeting Wednesday night, during which the issue was expected to come up, but the spokeswoman said it is one of many regularly scheduled town hall meetings that the school has held since 2011.

But the parents who raised concerns about diversity at the school said it is time to do more than talk.

“Actions speak louder than words, so after you've voiced your opinion lots of times, you expect a response, not just words,” one parent said.

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Wed, 27 May 2015 17:15:50 -0400

Rugby teammates remember teen who drowned as 'fierce competitor'

A local high school is devastated after a rugby player drowned in Mountain Island Lake Tuesday.        

Marco Hernandez’s teammates are leaning on one another as they deal with the sudden loss.

Hernandez, 17, was a junior at North Mecklenburg High School and played for the school’s rugby team.

Channel 9 reporter Ken Lemon was at the school Wednesday with the team as it prepared for the state championship this weekend.

It was a tough day for students, especially for the members of the team that were the closest to Hernandez.

Team members said Hernandez was a fierce competitor and an encouraging teammate.

The team posted a photo on its Instagram page of him celebrating after a state semifinal win over Hough High School Friday night.


“He had a rare combination of fearlessness and compassion,” said head coach Bo Pasko.

“He was tough. He wasn’t afraid,” said teammate Anthony Reccinos.

Players heard Tuesday after practice that Hernandez drowned at Latta Plantation.

Chopper 9 flew over as divers went into the water.

“We were gutted. The whole team is devastated by what happened,” Pasko said.

It was most difficult for Hernandez’s older brother, who is also a member of the team.

He said there is an empty space in his family, at school and at home.

“It’s a big spot right there,” said brother Edgar Magana.

He wished he could turn back the clock and keep his brother on shore.

"I hope we can go back one day and tell him just to not do that. Just come back home,” Magana said.

The group said it has learned from this loss.

“Cherish life. You’ve got to cherish life. You can’t take a day for granted,” said teammate David Moore.

Hernandez’s team will play for the state championship this weekend.

They talked about whether they had the emotional strength to play. Ultimately they decided not to cancel because Hernandez would have wanted them to compete.

Leave your condolences for Hernandez's family and teammates on our Facebook page.


Officials ID North Meck HS student who drowned at Mountain Island Lake

Wed, 27 May 2015 17:04:44 -0400

UNCC students given week to move out of off-campus apartments

Students at the Circle Apartments near the University of North Carolina at Charlotte were just told they have a week to move out.

The owners said they need to inspect the flooring after it collapsed inside one of the rooms.

Crescent Communities has since hired a private engineer who said some repairs may be needed.

“Certain modifications are warranted throughout the community, because of suspected concerns regarding a pre-fabricated floor truss. This is similar to a product defect type of issue,” said Crescent Communities representative Ben Collins.

Some renters are angry at how Crescent is handling the problem.

Everyone has to move out by June 2 so engineers can inspect the building.

They are letting them out of their leases and paying them $500 for the inconvenience.

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Wed, 27 May 2015 16:36:41 -0400

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