‘Appalling’ sex assault claims rock state high schools
A sweeping review into sexual consent education and reporting in Queensland schools has been ordered after shock sexual assault allegations emerged involving the state's biggest public and private schools.
Last week The Courier-Mail revealed distressing allegations of rapes and sexual assaults allegedly committed by private boys' school students, published online on a viral petition urging for better education on sexual consent.
Assault and harassment allegations have now been made against students from a number of Queensland public schools including Kelvin Grove State College and Brisbane State High School students.
Mossman State High School, Lockyer District High School and William Ross State High School were also named.
A Department of Education spokeswoman said yesterday while schools provided "respectful relationships" education, "it is primarily up to parents and carers to educate children about sexuality and relationships".
"Individual state schools determine how they provide age-appropriate programs in consultation with the local school community," she said.
"Parents may elect for their children not to participate."
But Education Minister Grace Grace said the effectiveness of the current school education programs would be examined.
"I have asked the Director-General of my department to work across the non-government and state education sector, P & Cs and school communities to explore whether current Australian curriculum and respectful relationships education adequately address all issues, including consent and reporting," she said.
The petition launched by former Sydney private school girl Chanel Contos to push for earlier education on sexual consent has collected more than 30,000 signatures, and more than 4000 testimonies.
One post claimed to be from a former KGSC student, who alleged she was sexually assaulted by a classmate outside of school hours.
"I reported the incident to the school and they told me I was in the wrong for being intoxicated at the time," the post states.
"I was bullied and harassed by boys at the school for the rest of my schooling years up until I graduated."
Another post read: "I did not receive any sort of education like this at my school (BSHS).
"I know of two boys and there are highly likely more who took advantage of drunk/passed out girls during and after high school.
"I think this definitely shows why consent needs to be taught strictly in all schools."
One claiming to be from KGSC alleged she was assaulted in the back of a classroom by an ex-boyfriend.
"At the time I thought this was normal for him to touch me sexually after I had said no," the post stated.
"I had no information around sexual assault and what it meant.
"The rape culture that went on at this school ... is appalling."
Ms Contos said while parents should discuss issues with their children, mandated school education on consent was urgently needed to help reduce the extent of sexual assaults on students.
"I don't think our parents are always aware of the best ways to teach proper sexual consent education, because they often weren't taught themselves," she said.
"They may in fact inherently victim blame, because that's the way they were raised."
In light of the allegations, several Queensland private school leaders pledged to consider more education on sexual consent in schools.
St Laurence's College principal Chris Leadbetter said the school would "re-look at our educational programs" while Brisbane Boys' College headmaster Paul Brown said the school welcomed discussions about how to enhance programs around sexual consent.
All Hallows' School principal Catherine O'Kane said "education is one of the best ways we can protect and empower our students".
"Clearly change is necessary and overdue," she said.
"As a community we must acknowledge more can and must be done."
Originally published as 'Appalling' sex assault claims rock state high schools