Government report finds dignity of several student athletes was 'compromised' at Montreal high school
A government investigation into alleged sexual assaults at a Montreal high school has found that "the dignity of several athletes was compromised" related to a girls' basketball program.
"A particularly low level of organizational trust was also found" at the Saint-Laurent High School, according to the Ministry of Education, which ordered an administrative investigation into the school last February after three coaches were charged with multiple sex-related offences.
The ministry released several recommendations Tuesday for the Marguerite-Bourgeoys school service centre, including asking the centre to hire an external firm to investigate the school's climate "and incivility."
It also calls for an independent financial audit of the school's sports programs and to make bystander intervention training mandatory in schools.
A parent of two girls on school's basketball team who spoke to CTV News after Montreal police arrested the coaches said the team's head coach had a history of bad behaviour and claimed the school only addressed it after he was charged.
Montreal police asked for more complainants to come forward after the three coaches were arrested at the school in Montreal’s Saint-Laurent borough last February. Court records show the alleged offences for the accused date back to 2010 and span nearly a decade at the school.
The ministry's report on Tuesday highlighted what it described as "major shortcomings" in the supervision and controls related to the school's basketball program.
"The government undertakes to act on the recommendations and to monitor their application in the network," the ministry wrote in a news release. "No additional comments will be issued so as not to harm the ongoing criminal investigation and to promote healing in the community."
Responding to the government's findings on Tuesday, the school service centre said it will implement recommendations, saying in a written statement, "we will spare no effort to ensure that it meets expectations and reflects the values of respect and dignity."
The Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Service Centre said some initiatives have already been implemented.
"The Saint-Laurent high school management team currently in place and the school team have the confidence of the Centre de services scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys to implement the appropriate changes. The safety and well-being of our students and staff will always remain our top priorities," the statement read.
Both the school service centre and the education ministry said they could not make any further comments on the report, citing the ongoing criminal proceedings. The ministry also cited the same reason in an email to CTV for not making the government report public.