Parents threatening to remove kids from 'child rapist' school

Parents are considering removing their children from a school south of Perth after learning a convicted child sex offender is among the students.  Photo: AFR

Parents are considering removing their children from a school south of Perth after learning a convicted child sex offender is among the students. Photo: AFR

Horrified parents at a religious school south of Perth are threatening to pull their children out after learning a convicted child sex offender and an accused child rapist were among the students. 

The two boys, aged 17 and 12, are accused of separate child rapes - with teachers, students and parents unaware of their alleged offences until the details began to spread on social media on Tuesday.

The offences have again called into question a state law that effectively gags schools from being able to warn parents of a student's criminal history. 

"Kids get expelled for a little fight or the wrong hair cut, but if you rape students you are protected and it's kept secret?" an outraged father of a student at the school told WAtoday on Tuesday. 

"One of my kids is in the same year as the 17-year-old... the school must act swiftly to remove these students, I fear failure to do so will be catastrophic... it's totally unacceptable on every level.

"The law must change as 500 innocent students safety must come before two students."

Parents are already talking about removing their children from the school if action is not taken. 

WAtoday understands one parent who was previously aware of the charges against the boys has already removed her children and enrolled them in a nearby school. 

The 17-year-old boy 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 school as the teenager, who he groomed over an extended period.

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. 

The nine-year-old's mother told WAtoday her family was planning to move away from the area after receiving little support from the government and living within minutes of the two other children.

She said her young son had become suicidal since the alleged rape 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."

The south of Perth case comes less than a month after it was revealed an 11-year-old boy in Perth's northern suburbs had been charged with the rape of an eight-year-old boy, but continued to attend school.

After learning of the boy's offences through social media, concerned parents threatened to take their children out of the school if the offending child was not removed, leading the Department of Education to find alternative schooling for the boy away from other students.

A parent whose child attends the same school as the two boys accused of child rape south of Perth said the law that allowed convicted child sex offenders to quietly return to the school environment needed to be changed. 

"I am really concerned they are able to return to the school without any protection for the other children," she said.

"I'm not saying let's destroy 17-year-old and 12-year-old children... there's the potential for rehabilitation – but if the legal system is not putting in place protective measure for other children, something's wrong with that.

"We feel it has to change at a policy level... the education department has a responsibility with convicted sex offenders to remove them from the school."

The comments echoed those made last month by a father whose child attended the same school as the 11-year-old northern-suburbs child rapist.

"When it comes to someone at such a young age, everybody in the government, police etc, just really don't know how to handle it," he said during a meeting of concerned parents on February 21.

"Just try to get the rules and law balanced a bit more, balanced a bit more to the victims, to the innocent and the community rather than the perpetrator."

Under Children's Court law, 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.  

Meanwhile, the nine-year-old victim's mother claims she has been unable to source much information about her son's alleged attacker and had received minimal support from government agencies.

"I've had to find my own private psychologist because my son was going to commit suicide," she said. 

"[The only support I have had from the government] was when the Department of Child Protection rang a couple of weeks later to make sure my son was in a safe environment."

Department of Child Protection director general Emma White said the agency did not have the authority to remove a child from a school if they were a risk to other students.

Under the Children's Court of Western Australia Act, a child's conviction cannot be disclosed to anyone other than "a court of law, a person acting in the performance of duties under any written law, to a person who as part of the person's duties is concerned with the custody or welfare of the child" or a health department officer for use in a research project. 

A spokesman for the incoming Labor government said the party would look into the case once the new ministry was sworn in on Friday.

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