Boys-only school latest to apologize for historic incidents

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Tauranga Boys’ College today publicly apologized for historic sexual harassment by a teacher.

In a statement to the school community and alumni this afternoon, new board chair Nikki Iuli said that after a recent investigation into the school’s handling of harassment complaints sexual abuse in the 1980s, Tauranga Boys’ College issued a public apology for the historic incidents.

She said the school, which has around 2,500 students, admitted that a recent review of the 1980s investigation, prompted by a complaint from a former pupil late last year, was insufficient.

“…he was primarily concerned with the process and did not address or acknowledge the impact on the school children who were victims of the incident, as it was outside the scope of the review.”

Iuli said while these were historical allegations and none of the people involved were yet involved with the school, and in some cases had died, it was still important for the college to address the issues and present a formal and public apology.

“On behalf of the Tauranga Boys College Board of Trustees, I would like today to acknowledge and apologize for the historic instances of sexual proposals to former students by a former member of staff.

“Today we communicated directly with the school community, past and present, to say that we are sorry for all former students who have 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 who are still living and suffering from the long-term effects of past abuse.”

Open Justice can reveal the complaint related to a former teacher who offered at least four students for servitude in his office.

Tauranga Boys’ College principal Robert Mangan said he was disappointed that the 2022 legal review, commissioned by the board, did not include victim interviews as part of the review’s parameters.

“The college has always accepted allegations of sexual propositions from a former teacher. The boys who came forward had the courage to do so and were believed at the time.

What happened to them was not normal. Parents trust schools to provide a safe environment for their children,” he said.

After receiving a response from the original complainant on the 2022 review, the board agreed it should have had a broader scope, Mangan said.

“The council has apologized to the complainant for these shortcomings and for the injuries and damage caused by the original incident in the 1980s.”

In response to criticism of the 1980s survey, Iuli said that the measures taken at
time has followed the customs of the time.

“At the time of the incidents of sexual proposals, there was an investigation, the police and the Ministry of Education were notified, the proper process was followed, no charges were laid and the teacher involved left school.

“If the same misconduct were discovered today, a very different process would be undertaken, involving not only the New Zealand police, but also mandatory reporting to the New Zealand Teachers’ Council.”

She said the school remains committed to the safety and well-being of its students and encouraged anyone with concerns to contact the principal by email at [email protected]

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