Kamloops-Thompson district says school followed policy on assault complaint

By Dale Bass

Kamloops This Week

Kamloops-Thompson school district Supt. Alison Sidow is confident teachers and staff at an elementary school did everything by the book as they dealt with a situation a mom has called assault, but that the school principal has referred to as inappropriate touching.

Sidow also expressed frustration that the mother of the girl involved has not returned phone calls from the district and school, but took her issue publicly, talking only to Global News.

The mother declined to speak to KTW when contacted by the newspaper.

KTW is not identifying the school as doing so could indirectly identify the children involved.

The mom told the television station reporter a boy lured her daughter to a secluded area, where three other boys were waiting, during recess on Jan. 30.

The mother told the reporter her daughter was restrained and then struck, groped and kissed. The mother said the incident left bruises on her child.

A letter from the school’s principal to parents of students at the school said while the details cannot be discussed due to privacy, the incident was “taken seriously and acted upon immediately and to the full extent of our authority and ability,” which included calling in the RCMP and the Ministry of Children and Families.”

Sidow said applicable board policies and procedures are designed around ensuring students are safe and feel safe. Sidow disputed the mother’s claims that the matter was not taken seriously by school staff, saying the principal adhered to policies “and used good judgment.”

The mom told Global her daughter, after running for help, was told to return to her classroom, as were the four boys.

Sidow said the girl and boys were separated, but would not clarify if that meant different parts of the same classroom or different rooms in the school. She said school officials called the mother, but noted the parent has not responded since the initial call.

“The parent has chosen to disengage from the school, although we are still reaching out … she has ceased to respond,” Sidow said.

Sidow said the district also received what she called surprising additional information days after the incident “that would inform how we deal with this,” although she again cited privacy as her reason for not explaining more.

The principal’s letter assured parents the school takes safety seriously “and will never minimize or diminish problems.

As well, we will continue to work to improve the manner in which we respond to complex behavioural issues in our schools.”

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