The parents of a 14-year-old girl from Florida High school who alleged that she was “sexually assaulted” by a 15-year-old boy have removed all their children from the school.

They accused the school of failing their daughter by refusing to take action on the youth who allegedly carried out the assault. The family have opened a case with the Florida police station.

According to the girl’s mother, the school allegedly told her that there was no need for a disciplinary hearing. When she persisted, the deputy principal dropped the phone on her.

When contacted for comment, Gauteng Department of Education spokesperson Steve Mabona said the matter had been investigated and concluded.

“It must be noted that the school is an independent school and not subsidised by the department. All schools are expected to have a code of conduct and implement it accordingly,” he said.

Mabona added that the department had a zero-tolerance stance on sexual assault and had never hesitated to act where allegations of this nature were proven.

“The department strongly 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,” he said.

According to the mother of the assaulted pupil, the youngster was “touching her breasts and tried to touch her bum and vagina but she sat down on her heels and put her arms over her chest.”

The girl’s father told The Sunday Independent that the alleged sexual assault took place on September 6 during a life orientation period when the class was left unsupervised.

“A few kids were hanging around outside the classroom. My daughter was called aside by a 15-year-old boy in her class saying he wanted to ‘talk to her about something’. They ended up in a secluded area and he started touching her inappropriately. She asked him to stop and said she would scream. He then left and before she could get away he returned and tried to touch her.”

According to him, his daughter mentioned this to a class friend who revealed that she was also allegedly sexually assaulted by the same boy.

“The boy found out that the girls were going to inform the teachers and he went to the teacher and said my daughter had something to tell her. The teacher then approached her and she then told the class teacher and deputy principal.

“But they were unsympathetic and interviewed two other classmates who had also been harassed by the same boy. Nothing further was communicated to the girls or to us (the parents). This was on Thursday (September 7),” he said.

The father said his daughter then reached out to his sister the following day feeling too embarrassed, afraid and confused. “She was afraid of how we would react towards the school. She loves her friends and enjoyed being at the school. My sister advised her to talk to us. She only opened up to me on Monday (September 1. The school had still not contacted us and the boy was still at school.”

On September 12, the father went to the school and met the deputy head.

“I asked her why they had not felt it important to contact the parents or to arrange counselling for the girls. She said first the school has to investigate the matter before taking action and that they were meeting with the boy’s parents in the afternoon. She offered no apology nor any further assistance.”

The provincial education department has urged pupils to abide by the school code of conduct at all times.

Sunday Independent