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Viral petition against student sexual assault a ‘wake-up call’, Sydney private school principals say

The headmaster of an elite Sydney all-boys college says he’s “significantly involved and alarmed” by the variety of references to Cranbrook College in a viral petition that has gathered more than 2,500 testimonies of sexual assault committed by high school students.

The headmaster of the Cranbrook College, Nicholas Sampson, mentioned faculties “must take additional motion” and has dedicated to a assessment of the varsity’s pastoral care, together with holding combined gender education schemes.

As of Monday, greater than 16,500 individuals had signed the petition, calling for an overhaul of how sexual consent is taught in faculties, particularly to boys.

The doc, began by Chanel Contos, a former scholar of Sydney’s Kambala ladies’ college, has acquired greater than 2,500 testimonies from college students who skilled sexual assault by different college students – together with some as younger as 13.

College students from Scots School, Cranbrook, Sydney Grammar, Waverley School, Kambala, Kincoppal-Rose Bay, Monte Sant Angelo and Pymble Women’ School are repeatedly talked about within the testimonies.

One scholar, who was 15 on the time, wrote {that a} boy from Cranbrook “pushed her head down” and compelled her to carry out oral intercourse. One other who was 16 wrote that she was at a celebration and “wakened drunk in his mattress with him penetrating me”.

Addressing the petition for the primary time on Monday, Sampson advised his college students the content material was “bleak however important studying”.

“All of us at Cranbrook must be grateful for the braveness of those younger girls in talking out,” he wrote, linking to the petition. “Society makes it very laborious to boost problems with this sort.”

Sampson wrote that he was “significantly involved and alarmed that there are such a lot of references to Cranbrook college students”.

“Present, related packages have been in place for all 12 months teams for a while … However fairly clearly, we have to do extra,” he mentioned.

As a part of the petition, males have additionally despatched Contos testimonies, saying they didn’t obtain an enough schooling about consent after they had been college students at single-sex faculties.

Sampson mentioned the varsity wanted to do extra to show its college students about sexual consent and respecting girls.

“The truth that so many younger girls have suffered not solely sexual assault but additionally the long-term damage, ache and injury it brings with it, is deeply saddening.

“The college’s instructional packages are handiest when supported by dad and mom in phrase and deed,” he added.

The principal of Saint Ignatius’ School Riverview, Dr Paul Hine, additionally advised Guardian Australia that the varsity “absolutely helps” the allegations towards college students being referred to the police.

“Non-consensual intercourse is against the law and this message is given unequivocally to our college students as a part of their schooling,” he mentioned.

Additionally on Monday, the principal of The Scots School, Dr Ian Lambert, wrote to college students, saying the varsity would assessment its education schemes.

“It’s a wake-up name for us all,” he mentioned. “They’re to be recommended for his or her bravery in standing up and talking out.

Lambert mentioned that “protected and respectful relationships” had been taught in Private Growth, Well being and Bodily Training (PDHPE) and Christian Research from Yr 7, and “consent is particularly addressed within the Yr eight and Yr 10 curriculum”.

“In gentle of the testimonials from younger ladies and men, The Scots School will now actively search additional enter from extra well being specialists and neighborhood specialists working within the discipline,” he mentioned.

Contos advised Guardian Australia earlier: “The non-public faculties have the sources to handle these injustices. They’ve each useful resource to verify it might probably’t occur.

“There must be a holistic method, and single-sex faculties want to include components particular to their college students. This implies addressing slut-shaming in ladies’ faculties, and addressing locker room discuss in boys’ faculties, as a result of that’s the inspiration for this tradition.”

Waverley School in Sydney was one of many first faculties to reply, with the principal, Graham Leddie, saying final week that faculties wanted to “begin the combat towards sexism early”.

“Simply this week we do not forget that it was 12 months since Hannah Clarke and her three kids had been killed,” he wrote. “All of us should do extra.”

“All of us want to start out the combat towards sexism early, and that features instructing boys that witnessing an inappropriate remark or gesture and tolerating it’s really taking part within the appalling behaviour.”

Lambert mentioned half The Scots School management crew had been girls, and that “each PDHPE class in Yr 7-12 teaches about consent, respectful relationships, energy steadiness in relationships, home violence, types of abuse”.

“We’re always growing the quantity of measures in place to assist stamp out the disgraceful tradition of sexism that also exists in Australia,” he mentioned. “Waverley School seems to be very totally different to the way it did even only a few years in the past. And we’ll proceed to be ruthless about making this development.”

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