A mother is in tears after her six-year-old daughter was allegedly sexually abused at school.
The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District family, the names and location of which are being withheld to protect their identity, has been dealing with the outcome and what she refers to as a lack of change at the school since the incident occurred last fall.
“On Nov. 14, 2017, my daughter woke up and didn’t want to go to school,” the mother said. “It came out that she no longer wanted to go to the bathroom with another (student).”
The concerned mother began to question her daughter further after hearing the troubling words. Her daughter said she had been sexually abused in the washroom by her big buddy — an older student at the school — since school began in September.
She immediately contacted the local RCMP and the school principal to inform them of what had occurred.
Const. Kelly Brett with the RCMP said that they were made aware of the allegations and conducted an investigation.
“Under the Criminal Code of Canada, no child under the age of 12 will be charged with a criminal offence,” Brett said. “The RCMP have concluded our investigation and the appropriate partner agencies have been briefed and are involved with the families. This included the school, the school district and the Ministry of Children and Family Development.”
No further information regarding the investigation will be released.
“I was told that the (student) was to be taken out of school immediately,” the mother said of her talk with the principal. “I was told I would be informed when the (student) would be coming back.”
Two weeks later, the mother went to drop her daughter off at school when a teacher approached her.
“I was told the principal wanted to speak to me. The student was back,” she said.
Upset that the assurances given by the school hadn’t been upheld, the mother said, the abused’s father went to speak with the principal. She said the school phoned the police and put the school on a hold and secure in response to an aggressive male on the property. The father has since been banned from School District 83 property.
“The next two weeks proceeded to have the abuser picked up (after school) 10 feet from my daughter’s exit,” the mother said.
The mother brought her story to the district, Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo and the Ministry of Education, who in turn brought in Safer Schools in December to implement changes in the school plan, which the mother said haven’t been adhered to.
“While we are unable to respond to the particular details of any student matter, what I can speak to is the process and approach to providing care and support to students in our schools,” said Peter Jory, School District 83 superintendent. “We approach all situations mindful of individual circumstances and best practices for safety of students and staff in the district. The district also reaches out to the Ministry of Education’s provincial experts in the field of Student Safety, Risk Assessment and Trauma Response for additional guidance and support.
“The North Okanagan Shuswap School District is dedicated to ensuring the safety and emotional well-being of all of our students. Planning for student safety, including understanding and addressing sexual behaviour of children under the age of 12, is undertaken by a team of professionals based at our schools and district, and involves professionals in the community with expertise in these complex matters. Safety support plans may be created and adapted as necessary to meet individual needs.”
Earlier this week, the mother was called to meet with the principal, who, she said, admitted that the daughter was briefly put in the same classroom as the abuser. The mother, in tears, said that incident goes against the safety implementations put in place.
“Ever since this incident happened with my daughter, she has been acting out in school,” the mother said. “She has been making frequent trips to the principal’s office because of this.”