A Boston charter school is under fire after they did not alert parents that a 6-year-old had been accused of sexually assaulting other students on the school bus.
WFXT reports that Renaissance Boston Charter School is currently working with investigators to determine if a 6-year-old sexually assaulted other students while on the bus to and from school. But the school is coming under fire for allegedly failing to notify the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the school’s regulating agency.
According to proper protocol, the school is supposed to inform its regulating agency within two days of an alleged incident. However, word of the alleged assault did not spread until parents read about it on Facebook.
“My stomach turned,” one parent said. “I was sick to my stomach. I was like, ‘How did they let this go on?’"
The mother-of-two who did not want to be identified pointed to a graphic post which read, in part, “I have a close friend whose son has been getting molested about ten times, mainly by another 6-year-old ... mainly on the bus."
The post contained graphic descriptions of incidents that allegedly occurred at Boston Renaissance, one of the oldest charter schools in the city.
Now parents are furious at having first learned of the allegations through social media. “I heard it on Facebook, that's how I heard it first, and then I got a phone call from the school," the mother said.
For its part, the school sent out an automated message to parents: “We are aware of the Facebook post regarding an alleged incident on the school bus earlier this month," the message said.
“This has been happening since the beginning of November, why was no one informed until it went viral," a parent asked.
WHDH reports that one mother claims the boy in question molested her son and four others repeatedly on the bus. “There was another child that was touching him and asking him to perform different sexual acts,” she said.
In response to the alleged assaults and public outcry from parents and community members, Boston Renaissance posted a statement to their website:
We are aware of the Facebook post that has been circulating regarding an alleged incident on a school bus earlier this month.
We can assure all Boston Renaissance families that the school leadership team took immediate action and followed appropriate legal protocols, contacting law enforcement immediately upon learning of the issue. We have taken this matter very seriously and have taken appropriate measures to ensure student safety. We have also taken the appropriate steps to protect the privacy of the children who were involved.
This is a highly sensitive matter. We ask our school community to respect the privacy of our students and families, and allow the school to handle this appropriately.
Boston Public Schools, which controls transportation for the charter school, also released a statement:
The Boston Public Schools (BPS) is conducting an internal review into this matter. We are working with the charter school’s administration and our transportation provider to ensure that all protocols were properly followed. The safety and wellbeing of our students, and those we transport, are always a top priority of the BPS.
Boston police have referred the case to the Children's Advocacy Center, because the alleged abuser is less than 6 years old and therefore would not face criminal charges