babble-intro-img
babble is rabble.ca's discussion board but it's much more than that: it's an online community for folks who just won't shut up. It's a place to tell each other — and the world — what's up with our work and campaigns.

School officials don't report abuse, charged

blake 3:17
Offline
Joined: Sep 8 2005
 

Comments

blake 3:17
Offline
Joined: Sep 8 2005
Not one for law n order usually, but I am pleased with this. Jerks.

Former C.W. Jefferys school officials face charges

Last Updated: Monday, January 7, 2008 | 9:01 AM ET

CBC News

Toronto Police have charged the former principal and two vice-principals at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate with failing to report an alleged sexual assault on a female student, sources have told CBC News.

The school officials, who are on home leave, are facing charges under the Ontario Child and Family Services Act for failing to report the alleged assault.

Police have already charged six males with gang sexual assault, forcible confinement and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence in connection with the incident in which a female student was allegedly sexually assaulted in October 2006.

School officials are required to report this kind of incident to police or the Children's Aid Society.

Information concerning the alleged sexual assault surfaced during the course of an internal investigation following the shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Manners.

Full story.


oldgoat
Offline
Joined: Jul 27 2001
It's quite rare for actual charges to be laid under this legislation, although warnings of charges and/or reporting to the appropriate professional college are quite common.

[ 08 January 2008: Message edited by: oldgoat ]


rural - Francesca
Offline
Joined: Dec 31 2007
There is conversation that they didn't realize this law applied to student on student assault, just adult on student.

I'm so steamed about this, I always told me daughter to go to a teacher (pre cell phone) if in trouble.

Makes me sick [img]mad.gif" border="0[/img]


jeff house
Offline
Joined: May 7 2001
I am unsure precisely what the charge may be. However, it is not clear that the principal, etc, had any such duty. But it may be that the facts are different than what is reported.

I think the relevant law is par. 72(1) of the Act:

quote:If a person, including a person who performs professional or official duties with respect to children, has reasonable grounds to suspect one of the following, the person shall forthwith report the suspicion and the information on which it is based to a society:

and the sex abuse paragraphs: You must report, as above, where

quote:
3. The child has been sexually molested or sexually exploited, by the person having charge of the child or by another person where the person having charge of the child knows or should know of the possibility of sexual molestation or sexual exploitation and fails to protect the child.

So, unless the principal, etc suspected that the effective PARENT ("person having charge of the child", above, FAILS TO PROTECT THE CHILD from sexual molestation, then there is no duty to report.

I think the intention of the section is to have principals report on parents who let another parent or lover abuse a child. I doubt it is meant to turn principals into roving police officers, required to report any rumoured sexual abuse among students.


oldgoat
Offline
Joined: Jul 27 2001
I just finished reading the legislation and see their point, however, during the school day they were the people in charge of the child, and the child was in need of protection under the law as a result of their (the administrators) failure to protect. Both the principal and the VP's were aware of the issue, and it is alleged they did nothing. They had a duty to report eachother.

saga
Offline
Joined: Aug 5 2006
quote:Originally posted by oldgoat:
I just finished reading the legislation and see their point, however, during the school day they were the people in charge of the child, and the child was in need of protection under the law as a result of their (the administrators) failure to protect. Both the principal and the VP's were aware of the issue, and it is alleged they did nothing. They had a duty to report eachother.

I think there is way too much tolerance by staff of sexual harassment and assault among students. I am glad they are being charged and this issue is being clarified.


martin dufresne
Offline
Joined: Dec 24 2005
This may be perceived as beside the point, but it is about school officials not reporting abuse against youths, indeed, covering them up.
I am talking about the arrangements between campus authorities and police forces that allow high school/university campuses to be treated as off-limits for police intervention in cases of sexual assault.
It is my understanding that most schools have sexual assault intervention "protocols", engineered to protect the institution's reputation. Under the pretense of protecting victims or of ensuring more humane or even effective intervention and support of victims, university authorities often obtain from municipal authorities that police officers defer to internal "resources" for "dealing with" sexual assaults.
As a result, date/fraternity rapists are sometimes chided but rarely prosecuted. In effet, this is tantamount to cover-ups and decriminalization.
Has this been discussed on Babble before? Can someone provide significant data about this pattern? For instance, is the funding of sexual assault crisis centres dependent on going along with this diversion process and have some feminists tried to fight it?

[ 08 January 2008: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]


triciamarie
Offline
Joined: Jul 28 2006
Is the "person having charge of the child" necessarily only the parent, etc? When I send my kids to school I entrust them to the care of their teachers and ultimately, the school principal. If these authorities have knowledge of sexual offences being committed against my child at the school, there is no question in my mind that they should be legally required to report it to me and the police.

(ETA: Sorry oldgoat, I see that you have already made this point.)

Also, if the teachers and principal know or ought to know of this taking place at the school, and they fail to report it to the parent or guardian and police, would that not expose the staff and the school board to the possibility of a civil suit?

[ 09 January 2008: Message edited by: triciamarie ]


M. Spector
Offline
Joined: Feb 19 2005
quote:Originally posted by jeff house:
I think the intention of the section is to have principals report on parents who let another parent or lover abuse a child. I doubt it is meant to turn principals into roving police officers, required to report any rumoured sexual abuse among students.
I think this is probably correct.

According to a footnote in this 1999 article in the Health Law Journal (.pdf), a “person having charge” of the child does not have to be a parent. Presumably it could be a teacher or a principal.

Also, it appears that the obligation to report has been held to apply only to cases of suspected abuse by a “person in charge”. I don’t know if that has changed since 1999, either through judicial interpretation or statutory amendment.

quote:Under this broad language, a day care worker was found to be a “person having charge of the child,” respecting whom a report of abuse should have been made: R. v. Kates, [1987] O.J. No. 2032 (Dist. Ct.), Gotlib D.C.J, paras. 28-31; rev’g [1986] O.J. No. 2185 (Prov. Div.), Fisher Prov. J. Even under the broad Ontario language, the reporting obligation is not engaged where an allegation of sexual assault relates to a perpetrator who does not have “charge” of the child: R. v. Rahalkar, [1995] O.J. No. 653 (Gen. Div.), Abbey J. (an uncle); R. v. Stachula, [1984] O.J. No. 685 (Prov. Ct. Fam. Div.), Main Prov. Ct. J. (a brother).

Wilf Day
Online
Joined: Oct 31 2002
Section 79:

In this section,

“abuse” means a state or condition of being physically harmed, sexually molested or sexually exploited.

(2)No person having charge of a child shall,

(a) inflict abuse on the child; or

(b) by failing to care and provide for or supervise and protect the child adequately,

(i) permit the child to suffer abuse.

So the teacher and principal have a duty to protect the student.

Note, by the way, that the duty to report "applies to every person who performs professional or official duties with respect to children including,

(a) a health care professional, including a physician, nurse, dentist, pharmacist and psychologist;

(b) a teacher, school principal, social worker, family counsellor, operator or employee of a day nursery and youth and recreation worker;

(b.1) a religious official, including a priest, a rabbi and a member of the clergy;

(b.2) a mediator and an arbitrator;

(c) a peace officer and a coroner;

(d) a solicitor; and

(e) a service provider and an employee of a service provider."

“service provider” means,

(a) the Minister,

(b) an approved agency,

(c) a society,

(d) a licensee, or

(e) a person who provides an approved service or provides a service purchased by the Minister or an approved agency.

"Service" means,

(a) a child development service,

(b) a child treatment service,

(c) a child welfare service,

(d) a community support service, or

(e) a youth justice service; (“service”)

That's a lot of whistle blowers who have to report each other. As it should be.


M. Spector
Offline
Joined: Feb 19 2005
OK, Wilf, but is it still the law in Ontario that "the reporting obligation is not engaged where an allegation of sexual assault relates to a perpetrator who does not have 'charge' of the child"?

Michelle
Offline
Joined: May 10 2001
Doesn't sound like it to me if this is true:

quote:(2)No person having charge of a child shall,

(a) inflict abuse on the child; or

(b) by failing to care and provide for or supervise and protect the child adequately,

(i) permit the child to suffer abuse.


M. Spector
Offline
Joined: Feb 19 2005
quote:Originally posted by Michelle:
Doesn't sound like it to me...
But the passage you quoted doesn't contradict the idea that, unless the abuser himself is a person having charge of a child, the obligation to report the abuse to the CAS or police is not "engaged".

jester
Offline
Joined: Jan 18 2006
'Culture of fear' plagues Toronto schools

quote:Since Jan. 13, 2006, the panel says it found 177 violent incidents in schools across the district — they include gun incidents, robberies and sexual assaults. The panel found there were guns in select schools across the city “in non-trivial numbers.”

At Westview Centennial secondary school near the corner of Jane and Finch, the panel found that one of every three female students said they have been the victim of sexual harassment at their school over past two years. Almost 30 per cent of female students at the school said they had experienced unwanted sexual contact over that period of time.

Twenty-nine female students said they had been victims of major sexual assault at the school.

At C.W. Jefferys, almost 20 per cent of female students said they had been the victims of sexual assault, the report said.

quote:One of the most shocking side effects of the panel's investigation over the past few months was the discovery of the alleged sexual assault of a female Muslim student at C.W. Jefferys. The final report sheds more light on the incident, which took place in October, 2006.

According to the report, several students approached a female teacher to report that a Muslim girl had been sexually assaulted in the second-floor boys washroom by a group of boys.

“The students came forward because they were concerned that the boys involved were targeting girls who were unpopular and isolated,” the report says.

The female teacher and the students told a vice-principal about the alleged attack, but neither police or her parents were informed, the report says.

As more students heard about what happened, however, the female student was further harassed by other students, although steps were taken to curb abuse, the report says.

The female student was eventually transferred to another school at the request of both her and her father. But no steps were taken to remove the alleged attackers from school, the report says.

The former principal and two vice-principals at C.W. Jefferys have been charged under Ontario's Child and Family Services Act with failing to report an alleged sexual assault on a student, Toronto District School Board education director Gerry Connelly confirmed this week, before the final report's release.

Disgusting lack of spine by those in authority.

In history, there has never been an instance of an intellectually superior progressive society conquering an inferior primitive society.

It is incumbent upon a progressive society to protect vulnerable individuals,not succumb to a culture of victimhood, where the root causes of perpetrators of violence are considered more important than the suffering of the victims.

If progressive types don't have the spine to report assaults,they should be held accountable. They should also have the resources to counter growing anarchy in schools.


triciamarie
Offline
Joined: Jul 28 2006
From the section Michelle quoted it appears that when "a person having charge of a child" fails to adequately supervise and protect the child such that the child is permitted to suffer abuse, that person is violating this law.

Does this violation not trigger the obligation to report? That wouldn't make any sense.


Tommy_Paine
Offline
Joined: Apr 22 2001
The article isn't very clear about what those charged knew about the sexual assault and when they knew about it.

Having said that, I think one of the huge problems we have in protecting kids and other vulnerable people is that managers of both public and private institutions attempt to cover up crimes against such people in effort to protect the institution in which, or under which, the crimes took place.

It's a subtle bit of evil, and if the people charged here turn out to be of that ilk, then I'm happy they are charged. And I will be happy to see them found guilty if the evidence confirms this kind of thing.

But, since the courts are as bad at this kind of evil as any other institution, I will not hold my breath.

The law is a capricious thing, and a stranger to justice.


Michelle
Offline
Joined: May 10 2001
Bureaucratic wrangling over who was invited to speak to the panel

Good grief.

quote:She has had seven students murdered under her watch in seven years as a Toronto school superintendent, and Phyllis Hill says she would have a lot to say to Julian Falconer about how each horrific young death is complex, and different, and raises unique questions.

But she says she was never asked.

Hill and many others among the board's 24 superintendents said yesterday they did not turn down any invitation to speak with the Falconer task force on school safety, because the panel never specifically asked them – in which case they would have said yes.

"There was no invitation, not even a sort of cattle-call for superintendents to meet with the panel because it seemed they were focusing on that northwest quadrant of the city" where C.W. Jefferys student Jordan Manners was slain last May, Hill said.

quote:Most "would not meet with us," said Falconer, suggesting this may have been part of "a culture of silence" stifling discussion of problems.

Superintendent Michael Smith also said he never got a direct invitation. "I would have been delighted to meet with the panel and I hope the panel knew that," said Smith, whose schools range from Pottery Rd. to Sheppard Ave.

"Why would we turn it down? Our board commissioned the report."

When Falconer was asked last night if Hill and Smith and others were never asked to contribute their views, he replied simply: "No."

He said the superintendents all knew that the panel consultations were going on for six months, "and notwithstanding this knowledge, most disappointingly to the panel, they chose not to meet."

"I assume they have their reasons, but it's simply inconceivable it was because they didn't feel invited."


Tommy_Paine
Offline
Joined: Apr 22 2001
Your link should have had a warning, Michelle.

It broke the needle on my bullshit detector.


rural - Francesca
Offline
Joined: Dec 31 2007
Where is "labour's voice" in this debate?

Has there been a response to this report from the teacher's federation?

I just find it rather quiet on the teacher's side considering the charges laid, the stress of being a teacher and the whole cuts to education over the past 10 years


Tommy_Paine
Offline
Joined: Apr 22 2001
Oh, I'm sure they'll weigh in if they haven't already.

On the larger issue of the violence in Toronto schools, there may be a place for such a voice. To keep this short, suffice to say that you can't address this issue without addressing countless others. It's an understatement to say it is "complex".

But on the other issue of a student coming forward to complain about a sexual assault or abuse, or harassment, people need to stop thinking of themselves as "teachers" or "union members" or anything other than just a person.

I do not have a glorious occupation. But there was a time, years ago when I had to do periodic quality checks on certain truck components. If they were the wrong size, or certain angles were not correct, they could potentially end up killing members of the public, and/or people who service those components. We know this because faulty components had killed, and maimed before.

There were times when I'd find something wrong, which meant that one of my friends, one of my coworkers, one of my union brothers had screwed up, and were in line for discipline.

To protect the public-- which also includes my friends, co-workers and other union brothers and sisters and their families, I couldn't put the short sighted relationships before that. It never crossed my mind.

I'm not trying to say that what I used to do-- and continue to do-- is some heroic function. It's rather mundane, ordinary, and in the grand scheme of things not terribly important.

But it strikes me that this simple and no brainer kind of ethic must get somehow siphoned out of people's brains when they get a professional degree. Then the priority seems to protect the institution, or their "professional association brothers and sisters". At the public's expense.

And, quite regularly, and without much negative comment, at the expense of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Teachers are blaming parents, which is probably fair enough in most cases. But I hope when it really counts, teachers are teachers second, and people first.


jeff house
Offline
Joined: May 7 2001
quote: But on the other issue of a student coming forward to complain about a sexual assault or abuse, or harassment, people need to stop thinking of themselves as "teachers" or "union members" or anything other than just a person.

However, a "person" cannot be charged with failure to report anything. A "person" will listen to an allegation, decide whether there is enough to it to do something about it, and then either report, or not report.

As soon as you make it an offence for certain categories of people to fail to do something, it's too late to ask them to react out of pure human kindness.


Tommy_Paine
Offline
Joined: Apr 22 2001
quote: However, a "person" cannot be charged with failure to report anything.

A woman was just recently sentenced to around seven years for being a witness to on going abuse of another woman, and not reporting it.

I remember back to a trial here in London where a good number of people were charged with premeditated murder, even though they did not directly participate in it. They happened to have been at the table at the bar when those who did commit the murder planed the crime. It was the Baxbaum case, which had some national profile for a time.

Charges were dropped in return for testimony.

But I think, yes, persons can be charged for not reporting something.

And well they should.


21st Century An...
Offline
Joined: Nov 4 2007
Tommy_Paine, do you have a link to a summary of the case you mentioned?

[ 15 January 2008: Message edited by: 21st Century Anarchist ]


Tommy_Paine
Offline
Joined: Apr 22 2001
Here's the link to the report in the Toronto Star.

from the star

And we discussed it here

As for the Bauxbaum case, That was many years ago, and I doubt there'd be links to anything about people in the presence of the planing of the murder being charged. I found one reference to the others charged, but the site it linked to was down.


saga
Offline
Joined: Aug 5 2006
quote:Originally posted by Tommy_Paine:

... managers of both public and private institutions attempt to cover up crimes against such people in effort to protect the institution in which, or under which, the crimes took place.

It's a subtle bit of evil,

So true!
In so many contexts, efforts are geared only to preserving the status quo institutions, the 'public good' is not the purpose. Almost any employee of any institution, public or private, can tell you that.

I think this says we have lost our way in our 'democracy'. It has ceased to evolve.


B.L. Zeebub LLD
Offline
Joined: Sep 18 2004
quote:Originally posted by jeff house:

However, a "person" cannot be charged with failure to report anything. A "person" will listen to an allegation, decide whether there is enough to it to do something about it, and then either report, or not report.

As soon as you make it an offence for certain categories of people to fail to do something, it's too late to ask them to react out of pure human kindness.

True enough. The expectation of "pure human kindness" is folly. People will react out of duty and compulsion - like food and paycheques - however. I'm all for semi-objective measures in this sort of case: If you hear about it, report it. Full stop. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200 dollars (until the next pay period, of course...) We need to operate based on imaginings of the worst possible scenario and not hope for a sliver of intelligence and conscience out of pack animals concerned for the welfare of the pack and their place in it first and foremost. Something we all become in one way or another.


Tommy_Paine
Offline
Joined: Apr 22 2001
What has to be realized is that there is no separation between self interest and so called "altruism". Regardless of who we are and what we do, if we know, or ought reasonably to know, that someone has been harmed, is being harmed, or will be harmed, we have an obligation to ourselves to do what is reasonable to stop or prevent it.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or register to post comments