St. Michael's scandal raises questions about student safety at school

Recent police investigations into allegations of assault and sexual assault at an St. Michael’s College, an all-boys private school in Toronto, have shaken students and parents alike. 

Toronto Police Services say they are now investigating six allegations involving students at St. Michael’s College School.

Toronto police have charged six students in an alleged gang sexual assault at St. Michael’s College School that was captured on camera and shared on social media.

Police confirmed charges were laid against six students in response to an alleged sexual assault involving a broom handle that was recorded and shared online. On Tuesday, police acknowledged they are now looking into two more instances after receiving more videos on Monday.

The Roman Catholic school, which is known for its athletics program, has suspended all external group and team events for the rest of 2018.

On Tuesday, Toronto Mayor John Tory spoke at a news conference about the school’s culture.

“This is a school that has a great, distinguished history in our city, but sometimes it can be the case that cultures within organizations like that, not confined to that school or to schools in general, can fail to meet the accepted standard, and fail to keep up even with the changing attitudes, and I think in this case both things have happened here, clearly,” Tory told reporters at city hall.

“We’re going to have to look for as well is leadership from all fronts — from parents, from the administration of the school and from the community and the police and others — to make sure that we learn from this and that justice is served,” he added.  

On social media, many are calling for accountability from the school’s administration given that the principal of the school, Greg Reeves, said he learned of a video of the alleged sexual assault last Monday but did not go to the police right away. 

“We have a responsibility to keep our students safe, but our best efforts failed,” Reeves told a news conference late on Monday.

Others wondered about the perceived privilege being afforded to the alleged offenders, and the response some mothers had when members of the media appeared at their school in wake of the allegations.

Some called for the school to put preventative measures in place to ensure students are always safe at school.

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