By SANCHESKA BROWN
Tribune Staff Reporter
THREE school boys are being investigated by authorities for sexual misconduct involving a young girl at a government primary school, according to Ministry of Education officials.
In a statement released after inquiries from The Tribune, the ministry said the alleged incident happed last Thursday and was immediately investigated by the Ministry of Social Services and the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
The ministry said the alleged sexual misconduct was discovered by a guidance counsellor who was reviewing “appropriate touching” in a family life lesson.
The ministry did not release the name of the school to protect the identity of the children involved.
However, The Tribune has confirmed the school in question, but when contacted an official declined any comment.
The statement said the parents of the students have been informed of the alleged misconduct and the alleged victim has been “removed from having direct interaction with those involved.”
“The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology takes matters of alleged sexual misconduct within our schools very seriously and gives priority to such matters. Once an incident is brought to our attention, the protocols and procedures as set out by the Safe Schools Protocol, Manual for Public Schools, are immediately followed to ensure that the matter is addressed and all stakeholders are notified,” the ministry said.
“In this instance, the ministry is satisfied that the right protocols were followed and the relevant stakeholders have been informed and are engaged in the investigations. The parents of all students have been contacted and informed of the alleged misconduct. Education officials, Social Services, School Psychological Services as well as the police have all been notified and each is carrying out its respective duties.
“The students are being closely monitored and the alleged victim has been removed from having direct interaction with those involved.”
The statement also said the ministry will place more emphasis on educating children on “inappropriate touching” especially among younger children.
“The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology wishes to assure the public that we do not condone this kind of behaviour from our students and will work closely with parents to ensure children understand what is considered appropriate and inappropriate behaviour,” the release said.
“The ministry seeks to ensure that the children receive the care needed while acknowledging this unfortunate circumstance so as to prevent further incidences from occurring. The Ministry of Education will continue to place emphasis in our family life lessons, where the curriculum provides; to educate our children on ‘inappropriate touching’ especially among our younger primary students. We wish to note that this matter was brought to our attention as a result of a family life Lesson when a guidance counsellor was reviewing appropriate touching with students.”