The Gauteng department of education expressed how “deeply concerned and disturbed” it was about the alleged rape incident which took place at I R Griffiths Primary School in March involving minors.
In a media statement, the department described that it was alleged four Grade 7 boys raped a Grade 2 learner in the boys’ toilets.
“The said learner did not report the matter immediately; however, she complained to her parents of having pains on her private parts, and was subsequently taken to the doctor for the necessary examination.
“It was then confirmed that she had been penetrated.”
The department explained the parents informed the school, who then informed the school governing body members. The incident is believed to have taken place during the school holidays.
“The alleged perpetrators were then taken through a disciplinary process on Thursday, 11 May 2017, which exonerated two of the said four boys. The recommendation was that the learners must be expelled from the school,” said the department.
“On Friday, 12 May 2017, the school submitted the recommendations to the HOD [head of department] for his consideration. The parents reported the matter to the SAPS, and the two boys appeared before the magistrates’ court on Monday, 8 May 2017.
“The second appearance was on Tuesday 16 May 2017.”
The department said the affected learners were referred to the Teddy Bear Clinic to receive psychological support.
“The department condemns any acts of sexual misconduct in schools and encourages learners never to listen to anybody who tells them not to tell, for fear of victimisation. Learners must report such incidents to their parents, police or any other trusted figure of authority,” said the department which further urged learners to abide by the school code of conduct at all times and refrain from acts of misconduct.
“The department has a zero-tolerance stance on allegations of sexual assault and has never hesitated to act where allegations of this nature have been proven to be true.
“We also appeal to parents to assist the department to enforce discipline in and outside the school environment.”
It was further reported by TimesLive that parents at the school were “outraged” at how the school handled the matter, alleging that the matter was communicated with little information that came too late. The school reportedly held a meeting with parents this week but one parent was quoted by TimesLive as saying it appeared the school “was sweeping the whole thing under the rug”.
Another parent also reportedly said the information from the school “was vague”.