Cape Town - Four boys from a Cape Winelands primary school have been suspended after they reportedly raped four younger boys in their school's library in November 2018.
The victims, three of whom were in Grade 4 at the time and the other in Grade 5, were among a group of boys at the school who were tasked with packing away furniture which had been used for a function at the school on the Friday evening.
According to reports, one of the older pupils locked the door and allegedly instructed another to sodomise the four boys.
Two boys then sodomised the four victims while two others looked on. One of the alleged perpetrators was in Grade 6 and the other three in Grade 7 at the time of the assault.
The alleged perpetrators were immediately suspended pending a disciplinary hearing. The disciplinary committee has recommended expulsion for all for boys.
Police have confirmed that they are investigating the incident.
Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Jessica Shelver says t he parents of three of the young victims have moved their children to a nearby school, while one remains at the school. All four victims are visited bi-weekly by a WCED social worker.
" We are absolutely appalled by this incident. It is of great concern to us that learners of such a young age are not only aware of such behaviour but are allegedly engaging in it. This kind of behaviour is learned – learned at home, in communities and perhaps at schools too. We have to do everything possible as a society to make our world a safer place for the children in our care," said Shelver.
Shelver said the school followed the department's " Abuse No More Protocol" which provides detailed guidelines on dealing with sexual abuse in the province's schools.
The WCED developed the guidelines - which aim to equip schools, teachers and pupils to deal with incidents of this nature - because of the high prevalence of child abuse, deliberate neglect and sexual offences against children in communities and educational institutions throughout the country, she said.