Education Ministry says probing sex abuse reports at Aishalton School

The Education Ministry today said it was probing alleged sexual abuse of Aishalton Secondary School students.
Its statement came a day after a report in Stabroek News about allegations of several abuses levelled at teachers.
The statement said that the Education Ministry had launched an investigation into reports of alleged sexual
molestation of students by two teacher of the school.

It said that acting Chief Schools Welfare Officer Carol Melville reported that Regional Education Officer Urline Crandon accompanied by an education officer and two policemen  today visited the Region Nine school to formally probe the matter. The ministry
said it will reveal the outcome of the visit in a subsequent release.

According to the ministry, Crandon, formerly the regional education officer of Region Five assumed duties in Region Nine lately, replacing Owen Pollard who has been sent to Region Five.
Melville stated that following a media report on the incident, both Crandon and Pollard were contacted on the issue, as no report of the incident was ever made to her. 

The acting chief schools welfare officer noted that both Crandon and Pollard have said that they did not receive any “formal report from concerned individuals on the matter”. However, the statement said that several reports were indeed made by these individuals but to the office of the regional executive officer.
The statement said that these reports were eventually brought to the attention of the regional education officer
during the July/August holidays for investigation when school reopened.

According to the SN report, 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.


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