Row rages over cases of sex abuse at schools
WITH rage surrounding the Parktown Boys High sexual abuse case now starting to simmer, a primary school facing a similar scandal has allegedly had another pupil sexually assaulted.
Scottsville Primary in Pietermaritzburg was in the media spotlight last year when one of its counsellors was arrested after 10 children between the ages of 5 and 13 were allegedly molested by him.
While his criminal trial has been set down for July 31, last week parents were summoned by the school to be informed of yet another alleged rape at the school.
A statement released by the school confirmed an attack allegedly had taken place on May 24, saying: “The principal issued a notice of suspension to the employee involved on the same day, reported the matter to the Department of Education and informed the parents of the learner of what had allegedly happened.”
“Following the meeting with parents on May 26, we have enlisted the services of an external security company to make suggestions and further enhance the security system at the school, which was upgraded following the alleged tragic events of 2016,” the statement read.
A parent of three of the victims in the first abuse case said she was enraged to hear of the new attack and accused the school of failing to protect its pupils. “This is a sign that no proper safety measures have been placed at the school,” she said.
The same parent said after her children had been subjected to years of abuse at the hands of the counsellor, the school had still not offered to assist in paying for trauma counselling for the children. Two other parents also confirmed the school’s lack of assistance, despite promises it would help them.
Principal Nhlanhla Mkhize directed queries to school governing body head Suben Pillay.
Pillay denied claims the parents had not been given counselling assistance, but was unable to say when and how the counselling had taken place, saying the KZN Department of Education had “been in charge of that”.
The parents of the children allegedly molested by the counsellor have also complained that despite the criminal trial set down for the end of July, their children have yet to be given any sort of court preparation for what will potentially be traumatic testimony.
National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Natasha Ramkisson said it was understandable parents were anxious but the court preparation sessions were very “hands on” and would prepare the children for their testimony.
Lynne Cawood, Childline director in Gauteng, said such a sensitive case, involving children so young and probably traumatised, meant extra time should have been assigned to court preparation for the children.
Last month, a waterpolo coach at Parktown Boys High School was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting 20 pupils. The man, 22, last appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court last month, where it was revealed the State intended to transfer the case to the High Court for trial. He returns to court on July 11.