TWO boys accused of sexually assaulting a nine-year-old boy are no longer attending school.
Both the mother of the nine-year-old and the new Education Minister Sue Ellery spoke to 6PR’s Gareth Parker yesterday.
The boy’s mother said she felt let down by the government and said she was outraged the alleged offenders were still going to school.
Ms Ellery echoed her sentiments.
“It is astonishing to me,” the Education Minister said.
“If this was an adult who had been charged and working in a school environment they would not be allowed at the school.”
Ms Ellery said she had spoken to the director-general to work out alternative options to meet the students’ education needs.
“I understand the parents’ concern about this,” she said.
“(There is) one standard for adults and a different one if a person is under 18.”
Currently students who are ill or who cannot be at school can receive distance education, Ms Ellery said.
“There are ways to provide children education outside of the school environment,” she said.
“The easiest way around that is that those students don’t return to the school environment.”
“It is not acceptable to me that parents have been put in this position.”
Ms Ellery is meeting with non-government school providers and plans to see how she can change court orders that demand students continue their education.
She said she could not change court provisions that ruled perpetrators under 18 could not be identified.
Mr Parker pointed out parents’ concerns that they could not talk about the situation and that they were not informed.
The boy’s mother said she was considering moving from the area, despite the fact her son did not attend school with the alleged predators.
She said she felt let down after the Department for Child Protection closed the family’s case after one phone call.
Ms Ellery said it sounded like the boy’s mother had had “a pretty awful time all around”.
“I’ll make sure she gets whatever assistance we can offer,” she said.
The case was brought to national attention last week after parents began removing their children from the Catholic school in protest to the offenders continued attendance.
At the time, a school spokesman said the organisation did not comment publicly on matters concerning individual students.
The spokesman said the school was compliant with all mandated government requirements, backed by stringent child protection policies and staff training.
These requirements give commitment to the “protection, safety and wellbeing” of all students.
He said the policies and procedures conformed to the legislative standards determined by the Minister of Education under the School Education Act.