TBC apologises for 80s sexual harassment incident

File photo.

Tauranga Boys' College has apologised for its handling of complaints of sexual harassment in the 1980s.

In a statement released to SunLive this evening, the College has issued a public apology for the historic incidents.

The College acknowledges that the recent review of the 1980s investigation was insufficient as it was primarily concerned with the process and did not address or acknowledge the impact on the schoolboy victims in the incident, as this was outside the scope of the review.

Recently appointed Board chair, Nikki Iuli, says while these were historic allegations and none of the individuals concerned were still involved with the school, and in some cases had passed away, it was still important that the College addressed the issues and made a formal and public apology.

“On behalf of the Tauranga Boys' College Board, today I want to acknowledge and apologise for historical cases of sexual propositions to former students by a former staff member.

“Today we have communicated directly to the school community, past and present, to say we are sorry to all former students who suffered abuse while in our care. While nothing we do as a school can erase history, we want to do what we can to help those still living and suffering from any long-term effects of past abuses.”

Tauranga Boys' College Principal, Robert Mangan, says he is disappointed that the 2022 legal review, commissioned by the Board of Trustees, did not include interviews of the victims within the parameters of the review.

“The College has always accepted the allegations of sexual propositions by a former teacher. The boys who came forward were brave to do so and were believedat the time. What happened to them was not OK. Parents trust schools to provide safe environments for their children.”

After receiving a response from the original complainant on the 2022 review, the Board of Tauranga Boys' College accepted that it should have been broader in scope.

The Board has apologised to the complainant for these shortcomings and for the hurt and damage caused by the original incident in the 1980s.

In response to criticism of the 1980s investigation, Mrs Iuli says that the actions taken at the time followed the practices of the time.

"At the time of the incidents of sexual propositions there was an investigation, the Police and Department of Education were informed, the appropriate process was followed, no charges were laid, and the teacher involved left the school.

"If the same misconduct was discovered today a very different process would be taken, involvingnot just NZ Police but alsomandatory reporting to the NZ Teachers Council.

We remain committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our students and we encourage anyone with any concerns to contact ourPrincipal, Robert Mangan, at: principal@tbc.school.nz."

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