Education ministry, region probing alleged sexual abuse of Aishalton students

- teachers, village officials implicated

An investigation has been launched into complaints by residents of Aishalton, in Region Nine, about the sexual abuse of students of the secondary school there by teachers and village officials.

One letter, sent in June by Aishalton residents to the Regional Executive Officer (REO) and the Regional Education Officer (ReDO), referred to complaints “within the past several months” made by the parents of a 13-year-old student of the Aishalton Secondary School to the matron at the school’s dormitory and the district education officer’s office, after the girl was sexually assaulted by two senior male teachers at the secondary school.
The letter was not signed by residents out of fear of being of victimised.

However, an official at the education ministry in the city admitted that the unit had received similar correspondences, which are being investigated, “since they contained several serious allegations.”

According to the letter sent in June, “the child only decided to talk because other classmates caught the teacher in the act after school hours.” It added that residents were afraid to approach senior persons in the community, since they believed that the confidentiality would have been breached.

The letter also stated that a senior village leader invited several boys to his home earlier this year and offered them “marijuana in return for sex.” The boys later went and related their encounter to their parents who became worried.
Some time after a similar incident occurred, in which a young lady, said to be 14 years old, was approached by the village leader to sleep with him in exchange for an electrical device and free goods from a shop which the man operated.

According to the letter, the district education officer was told of the allegations and she promised residents to investigate the issue but more than three months have passed and nothing has been done.

Attempts to contact the Region Nine REO, Ronald Harsawack, on the issue yesterday were unsuccessful.

However, an official at the regional administration office in Lethem said that the office had received similar correspondences from the South Rupununi community and they were being investigated. The official said that while some of the letters were anonymous, it was out of concern that the authorities decided to investigate the matter, since similar complaints were made against the officials in question in the past.

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