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Report finds 252 school staff charged with sex offenses


A report by the Canadian Center for Child Protection indicates that 252 current or former school personnel committed or were accused of committing sexual offenses against 548 children over a five-year period.

It says 38 other staff members were criminally charged with child pornography offenses in the same period from 2017 to 2021.

“It’s surprising and a bit infuriating,” said Noni Classen, director of education at the Winnipeg center.

Classen said it is the only known pan-Canadian overview of sexual offenses in schools that is publicly available. The center searched disciplinary records, media sources and criminal case law to build the database.

The report includes everyone working in a school environment, including teachers, administrators, bus drivers and maintenance staff.

Because education falls under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, most agencies charged with overseeing the discipline of school employees are not required to make the results of investigations public. There’s a complete lack of transparency, Classen said, and she suspects the numbers in the report are an understatement.

“It’s the tip of the iceberg,” she said.

The report indicates that 71% of the victims were girls and 29% boys, where gender could be identified. Of all offending behaviors, 37% involved physical contact.

The SECE, which stands for Stop the Exploitation of Children by Educators, is made up of survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by teachers. The group calls for the creation of independent national or provincial bodies to investigate sexual exploitation between teachers and students.

He also wants a national inquiry into child abuse by school staff and restitution for survivors.

The report says 167 school staff faced criminal charges over the five years, primarily of sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation.

When a secondary role was identified, 74% of offenders were coaches. The vast majority – almost 85% – were men.

Classen said all children have the right to safety, especially in schools. More than 58% of offenses took place on school grounds.

When a trusted adult or authority figure exploits that trust, the harm to the child escalates, Classen said. A sexually explicit text message or inappropriate comment isn’t just grooming, she added, it can be devastating to a child.

“Whether someone betrays the trust of the child and the family…I don’t know if there is a greater betrayal than that,” she said.

Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook were the most commonly used platforms to facilitate victimization, the report said.

It recommends the creation of independent bodies to receive and investigate complaints. He also suggests that disciplinary records regarding these offenses be made public and that all school personnel undergo child protection training programs. And there should be more trauma-informed support for student victims.

Classen said the vast majority of teachers and school staff are there for the right reasons. They also want more consistency in disclosure and policies to ensure students are safe, she said.

There have been positive changes in recent years, Classen added, but not enough.

“There is so much work to do,” she said. “We’re not seeing it at the pace we’d like.”

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