Suspension lifted for St Pat's Silverstream boys who filmed teachers inappropriately
The suspension of four boys who inappropriately filmed female teachers at St Patrick's College, Silverstream, has been lifted.
The school's board of trustees disciplinary sub-committee has met and made the decision, after the four were caught filming the teachers in what the school described as a "most distressing incident of sexual harassment".
The board said it believed the school could "best affect positive change" by working with the year 9 students.
Rector Gerard Tully said it was not appropriate for him to go into detail about what happened at the hearing, as staff members and the students involved had a right to privacy.
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"We are determined that out of this incident will come a better understanding amongst our students of the inherent dignity and uniqueness of each person, and the absolute respect that therefore needs to be afforded to all."
Meanwhile, Wellington College headmaster Roger Moses has issued another statement to the school community, thanking the boys who revealed the existence of Facebook comments about having sex with drunk girls.
In his note, sent out on Friday afternoon, Moses said alerting the school to the posts was not an easy thing to do, but the students who exposed the incident did the right thing.
"They represent the best of Wellington College values. I applaud them, and I hope you will all support them."
He said the posts by two students on a private Facebook page were appalling, and he was equally appalled at students who liked them, or who saw the page and did nothing.
One post said simply "f... women", while another said "If you don't take advantage of a drunk girl, you're not a true Wc [Wellington College] boy."
Moses said the boys involved in the posts would face consequences for their actions, but did not say what that would entail, as there was a process under way.
He acknowledged that students at Wellington Girls' and Wellington East Girls' colleges were angry and upset at what had been said. "We should take the time to listen to what they have to say."
The school had invited the principal of Wellington Girls' College, Julia Davidson, and senior students, to speak at an assembly at the school next week.
Girls from Wellington East have organised a protest against rape culture, which is due to be held on Monday.
Wellington College is also planning to strengthen programmes it has in place to educate boys about healthy relationships and consent, and those programmes, currently taught to year 9 and 10 students, would extend into the senior school, Moses said.
There would also be an evening session for parents to learn about how to have difficult conversations with their sons about consent and pornography.
Post-Primary Teachers' Association president Jack Boyle said he could not talk specifically about the incidents at Wellington schools, but said all schools taught students about healthy and respectful relationships.
Schools had sexuality education programmes, and taught students about digital citizenship, including appropriate behaviour in social media.
However, schools could not act alone – parents had a huge role to play.
Despite schools' and parents' best intentions, teenagers were still strongly influenced by peers, and the broader culture.
"As a society we all need to be looking at what we can do to change the culture," Boyle said.