Education officials, police visit Aishalton school to probe alleged sexual abuse

Education officials and police yesterday visited Aishalton Secondary School, in Region Nine to investigate recent reports of the alleged sexual molestation of students by two teachers.

Acting Chief Schools Welfare Officer Carol Melville said that Regional Education Officer Urline Crandon accompanied by an education officer and two policemen visited the school to formally investigate the matter, a statement from the Education Ministry said.

The ministry will disclose the outcome of the visit in a subsequent statement.

Stabroek News had reported that Aishalton residents, by way of letters to the Regional Executive Officer (REO) and the Regional Education Officer (ReDO), noted 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.

According to a 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 passed and nothing was done.

Crandon, the ministry said yesterday, was formerly the regional education officer of Region Five and assumed duties in Region Nine lately, replacing Owen Pollard who has been assigned to Region Five.

As a result, Melville pointed out that both Crandon and Pollard were contacted to shed light on the issue, as no report of the incident was ever made to her.
She said that both Crandon and Pollard have since said that they have not received any formal report from concerned individuals on the matter. However, the ministry added that several reports were indeed made by these individuals but to the office of the regional executive officer.

“These were eventually brought to the attention of the regional education officer during the July/August holidays for investigation when school reopened,” it added.

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