Another abuse scandal rocks city school

The latest incident last week follows the arrest last year of the school’s guidance counsellor Darren Goddard who is facing multiple charges of allegedly raping and sexually assaulting young boys. Parents at this week’s emergency meeting were aghast that the school was again embroiled in another sexual abuse scandal.
Public Eye has obtained an audio recording of the emergency meeting in which the school principal explains to parents what had transpired. He said the school’s weekly management meeting last Wednesday was cut-short after a teacher intervened to inform him that something had happened to one of the pupils.
“The meeting was cut-short to allow the teacher to bring two girls into the room and explain what had happened. The teacher said that one of the girls, who was crying, had told her that a gentlemen had touched her inappropriately. I asked the girl what had happened and she felt uncomfortable talking in my presence. I left the office and called two female teachers who are part of the pupil support team to talk to the girls,” the principal told the parents.

former school guidance counsellor, Darren Goddard currently out on bail awaiting trial

 

The teachers then reported back that the grade 4 pupil was sitting on the school’s deck and requested permission to go to the toilet…and a certain man followed her into the female toilet and touched her inappropriately. He then gave her R100 and told her not to tell anyone and if anyone asked where she got the money from, to tell them it was from another pupil.
The principal confirmed that he then called the parents who were at the school for an unrelated matter. He reported the incident to them and they in turn confirmed that their daughter had complained of her ‘private parts’ being sore. The parents were then asked to open a criminal charge at the police station, which they did.
The principal confirmed to parents that he informed the department of education, called an emergency meeting with the SGB and contacted the school’s lawyer who advised that the staff member should be immediately suspended. The principal also instructed the school’s IT specialist to download CCTV footage which was handed over to the Investigating Officer (IO).
“We had to protect the learners and the staff member was suspended right away. It is very sad for us as teachers, when you wake up and go to school you do not expect such allegations or that the pupils whom you love to become victims of something like this…at the moment we are awaiting for the outcome of a thorough investigation so that the law can take its course,” explained the principal to the parents.
However, outraged parents lambasted school management and the SGB demanding to know how such an incident could have taken place given last year’s scandal.
Some of the questions posed to school management and the SGB were:
Why are we having cameras? Who monitors them? Are they used to investigate or to prevent?
Why hasn’t he been arrested? How do we know this is the only victim?
What screening process is in place…it doesn’t seem as if the school has such a process;
Two huge disasters have taken place that affects lives…and this stems from who the SGb hires. Is the SGB equipped to hire? Should that function be removed from the SGB?
What is being done for the little girl?
From the last incident what measures has the school taken to keep our children safe?
How far back does this go? Do we need to ask all our children if they have been abused?
In his replies to the parents’ questions, the principal revealed that the alleged perpetrator had been employed at the school for 20 years. He said the SGM and school management will convene an urgent meeting to discuss parents’ feedback from the meeting and recommendations on additional security measures required including proposals that the school conducts a security audit using professionals, brings in additional properly trained security guards and employs someone to monitor the CCTV cameras,
“Good people please understand the situation is traumatic for all of us…we cannot make decisions right now. Some questions we can answer and some we cannot,” said the principal.
The SGB chairman told parents that all points have been noted and will be discussed at length to find ways of beefing up security,” he said at the meeting.

 

Some of the questions posed to school management and the SGB were:

Why are we having cameras? Who monitors them? Are they used to investigate or to prevent?

  • Why hasn’t he been arrested? How do we know this is the only victim?
  • What screening process is in place…it doesn’t seem as if the school has such a process;
  • Two huge disasters have taken place that affects lives…and this stems from who the SGB hires. Is the SGB equipped to hire? Should that function be removed from the SGB?
  • What is being done for the little girl?
  • From the last incident what measures have the school taken to keep our children safe?
  • How far back does this go? Do we need to ask all our children if they have been abused?

In his replies to the parents’ questions, the principal revealed that the alleged perpetrator had been employed at the school for 20 years. He said the SGB and school management will convene an urgent meeting to discuss parents’ feedback from the meeting and recommendations on additional security measures required including proposals that the school conducts a security audit using professionals, brings in additional properly trained security guards and employs someone to monitor the CCTV cameras.

“Good people please understand the situation is traumatic for all of us…we cannot make decisions right now. Some questions we can answer and some we cannot,” said the principal.

The SGB chairman at the meeting told parents that all points had been noted and will be discussed at length to find ways of beefing up security.

Also read: Goddard’s fourth bail appeal succeeds

 

Education department wants answers

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education is demanding answers from school management over the latest sexual abuse scandal to embroil a local city primary school.

Education spokesman Muzi Mahlambi said the department learnt of the incident through newspaper articles, as the school had not reported the matter to the respective district office.

“We have to ask ourselves why the school did not report the matter as this is no ordinary incident, and we want answers. Investigations are underway with officials and the department’s counsellors will visit the school,” Mahlambi said.

Mahlambi said the department was disappointed that another child at the school had been abused –  particularly after the MEC had visited the school last year and instructed the school to conduct proper screening of employees.

SAPS spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese confirmed that police are investigating a case of sexual assault but that no arrests had been made.

The school’s SGB said it was outraged at the latest incident.

“We are outraged at another abuse scandal, but as the school’s governing body we want to be unified in finding answers and all further correspondences regarding the development of the case,” said the SGB chairman.

The story has received a barrage of comments online. Here are a few of the readers comments

“You would think they would have better precautions after the last incident, now another poor child is left scarred for life,” –  reader

“  I’ve transferred my children out of the school as  the biggest concern is safety, there is nothing  more disheartening  than being at work and wondering if your child is okay.   There has been no security upgrade, besides a security guard guarding the gate. The problem is internal and not external, and there is no point of CCTV cameras if they are not monitored” – Parent.

“It is a good school that has history and is being destroyed by the unwarranted behaviour…This is not only a problem specific to this school but a global problem. Support needs to be given to the child in question and the family, and as parents in the school we should come together to receive answers from the school” – Parent.

“This is not supposed to happen at school. We as parents trust that our kids are safe at school”

“This is unbelievable. Shocking to say the least. This school is like a little shop of horrors! These poor children, they are meant to be safe at school”

“God please be with our kids. In Jesus’s name protect them everyday”

“How many more innocent children need to suffer? I am a rape survivor and these people need to pay the price and being out on bail is not one of them”

“Get your facts correct before trying to make a quick buck by tarnishing an entire school without having the correct info on hand”

“How many more children must suffer because of these demonic creature

 

 

 

 

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