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Old 03-20-2017, 10:01 PM   #554 (permalink)
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'Keep rapists out of our schools': Angry parents send strong msg to new government

'Keep rapists out of our schools': Angry parents send strong message to new government

Pressure is mounting on the newly formed state government to address laws that enable convicted child rapists to return quietly to school as outraged parents rallied outside Parliament House on Monday morning.

It comes after three boys, two convicted and one accused of child rape, were allowed to return to Perth schools in the past month, with teachers, parents and students unaware of their alleged offences due to laws that effectively gag schools from being able to warn parents of a student's criminal history.

"Your child could be sitting in a classroom next to a child sex offender and you just don't know about it and there's no way of knowing because you actually don't have a right to know," said one concerned parent outside Parliament.

"Those kids need to be schooled alternatively, they have a right to be schooled... but it shouldn't be at the risk of our children that are vulnerable to being their prey or to being sexually fantasised about while their in class."

The outrage stems from a 17-year-old boy who was last month sentenced to a 12-month intensive youth supervision order in the Perth Children's Court in relation to three counts of sexual penetration of a child under 13 and four counts of indecent dealings with a child under 13.

WAtoday understands most of the offences related to a 12-year-old male victim at the same south of Perth school as the teenager.

The 12-year-old victim has also been charged with one count of sexual penetration against a nine-year-old boy and is expected to enter a plea to the charge next month.

Meanwhile, another boy aged 11, pleaded guilty to raping an eight-year-old at knife point in December, but was not removed from his northern suburbs school until parents learnt of his offences via social media in February and threatened to remove their children from school.

The heartbroken mother of the nine-year-old boy allegedly raped by a 12-year-old boy has pleaded for more government support after telling WAtoday the charged boy continued to live within her community.

She said her young son had become suicidal since the alleged incident and was struggling to attend his school, which is a different school to the 12-year-old and 17-year-old.

"No one knows who they are," she said.

"I've told friends of mine to keep their kids away from [the 12-year-old].... it's so secret, so quiet what's happened.

"We have to pack up our whole lives and move away while these people get protected by some stupid law... our lives have fallen apart."

Newly appointed education minister Sue Ellery said she was briefed on the issue within hours of being sworn in on Friday and is treating it as a priority, with another briefing planned on Monday afternoon.

"I can understand parents concern about the safety of their children," she said.

"Every child has a statutory entitlement to an education but every parent is entitled to know that their children are safe at school.

"I have initiated conversations with my colleagues the Attorney General, the Minister for Child Protection and the Minister for Police and we will deal with this matter as a priority to ensure that parents can have certainty about the safety of their children."

Under Children's Court laws, juvenile offenders' identities are protected and schools are often left with their hands tied if a child has a violent conviction against their name.

A Department of Education spokeswoman has previously said it is an offence for anyone, including a school, to publish information which could lead to the identification of a child involved in court proceedings.

"WA's School Education Act guarantees the right of every child to an education, irrespective of a range of factors, which may include criminal charges," she said.

One parent slammed the law for protecting offenders ahead of the general school population.

"I don't think that the education department or the justice system has the right to take the right from parents to protect their children," she said.

"I don't think that it's fair that they make the decision on what is the safety risk. Parents have a right to protect their children as they see fit and appropriate.

"Some parents may be ok with supervision of a child that is a risk to them, but there's many, many who are not, and no one has the right to take that decision out of a parent's hands as to how they protect their children."

The newly appointed attorney general John Quigley has been contacted for comment.
R.I.P. Rhian - fuck da ghetto!
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