The Education Ministry will be looking to raise issues of sexual abuse and sexual harassment in schools to make students more aware of the issue and the types of behaviour which could be categorized under the two.
Speaking to members of the media briefly today, Minister of Education, Nicolette Henry, said there is the need for more awareness on the issue.
Her comments are in response to the explosive allegations being leveled against a male teacher of the Bishops’ High School, who has been accused of alleged sexual misconduct and allegedly having improper relationships with female students. The teacher, Coen Jackson, has since denied the allegations and has proceeded on leave.
The Education Ministry is probing the matter.
According to the Education Minister, “what this speaks to is the need to ensure that there is awareness and understanding of the issues at hand. If this is a case of sexual misconduct or harassment, then both perpetrators and victims need certain awareness, particularly children because as you understand, their age makes them vulnerable, and therefore the school system will have to ensure that they are aware how to report and what to accept and what not to accept and these are parts of education that should accompany mainstream and academic education and the Ministry would be very interested in executing that”.
She said once investigations are completed based on the complaints then action will be taken.
The Chief Education has appointed Welfare Officers to probe the matter at the Bishops’ High School, including the Headteacher’s reaction to news of the sexual misconduct allegations against the teacher.
At Monday’s Assembly, the Headteacher was recorded telling students that she is aware that they all know of the allegations but yet none of them sought to defend the teacher. She berated female students as “slackers” and “loose” for some of their interactions with male students of the same school. A group of former students have since issued a call for her to resign.
The teacher at the centre of the sexual misconduct firestorm has denied that he was ever sexually involve with any of his students. He however, admitted that he is currently dating a former student of the school and one of his ex-girlfriends is also a former student. He said both relationships started after the young women left the school and entered adulthood.
He is also pointing to a personal issue with the Cultural Advisor of the Ministry of Social Cohesion, Ruel Johnson, as the reason for the accusations. He claims that Johnson is currently dating his ex-girlfriend and may be upset that the ex-girlfriend remains in contact with him.
Johnson has brushed aside the teacher’s claims and maintains that he has statements from several former students of the school, detailing the sexual advances made to them and sexual relations they allegedly shared with the teacher once they reached the consent age of sixteen.
It was Johnson who filed a complaint against the teacher.