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Crieff High School: Probe launched into sexual assault and racism claims

Crieff High pupil Anna De Garis (16)
Crieff High pupil Anna De Garis (16)

An investigation has been ordered at Crieff High School after a pupil claimed sexual harassment and racism is “rife”.

School pupil Anna De Garis published an open letter earlier this week calling for action after a survey she conducted revealed cases of sexual assault, racism and homophobia.

The survey of around 90 pupils found three-quarters had witnessed such incidents, but a meeting between the pupil and her headteacher ended with Anna fearing she would be expelled.

Survey reveals ‘unwanted sexual touching’

An investigation will now take place to examine the allegations of discrimination and bullying at the school.

Perth and Kinross Council’s head of education and learning Sharon Johnston has commissioned the investigation.

Anna De Garis called for urgent action over the issue in an open letter, saying behaviour such as racist abuse had gone unchecked in school for four years.

The 16-year-old said she had conducted the survey to give pupil’s the ability to “clearly illustrate” the issue.

“I have witnessed far more aimed at others and it’s clear to me that racism, sexism, sexual assault and harassment, homophobia and transphobia are all rife, and
through the school’s inaction, are also being normalised for many,” Anna said.

Following her letter the council said the probe will gather information and testimony relating to the culture, policies and processes in place within Crieff High School, interviewing pupils and staff.

Crieff High School in Perthshire
Crieff High School in Perthshire

A spokesperson said this will ensure they “meet the high standards expected of all Perth and Kinross Council schools”.

The investigation will be led by David Macluskey, service manager for secondary education.

Council officers from the education and children’s service and inclusion and equalities teams will be involved.

Third sector organisations will also be asked to contribute where appropriate.

Sheena Devlin, executive director of education and children’s services, said council bosses are taking the allegations “extremely seriously”.

“The welfare of the children and young people in our schools is always our over-riding priority,” she said.

Crieff High headteacher John Donnelly.

Ms Devlin added: “Nobody should feel victimised or harassed in any of our schools.

“I want to assure all children, young people, parents and carers that we do everything we can to tackle bullying of any kind.

“This investigation will make sure the policies and processes we have in place at Crieff High School, and across all of our schools, are as effective as possible in ensuring our pupils learn in a safe and welcoming environment.

“I would urge all children, young people and staff at Crieff High School to engage with the investigation team so we get a full understanding of their experiences – all their voices matter.”

Crieff High pupil who shared sex assault claims is left ‘sobbing’ by headteacher

 

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