Rhode Island National Public Radio has found alumni and former teachers willing to talk about the culture at St. George’s School. The school has been at the center of allegations of past sexual misconduct and school administration malfeasance in addressing these allegations at the time.
One student who graduated in 1970, and didn’t want to be recorded for this story, said during his time at St. George’s, bullying was ubiquitous. He believes faculty knew about at least some of the bullying, but viewed hardship as a way to shape boys into men.
This student describes being pinned down by students, who cut his hair and threw him, fully clothed, into the school’s pool. Decades later, he experienced a panic attack during a casual visit to campus.
Ballard remembers nothing like that, but both were surprised to find out about widespread allegations of sexual abuse by faculty, and in a few cases, students.
“It’s very painful to think that this [rape allegations] was allowed to go on, and this was not spoken of, and this was kept under wraps, and this was very discreetly swept under the rug,” said [a former teacher,] Jennifer Day.
“I think the faculty was aware of these traditions, and accepted it,” said [alum Kyle] Hence. “It was just part of St. George’s culture. It was just passed down through generations of students.”
At least one student from that era says there was an unspoken code of silence, and it was understood that students were never to tell on one another.
Only one teacher is interviewed. Who isn’t interviewed may tell us as much as who is. Was RIPR unable to find others from the period willing to speak on the record?
Some have called for wide dialog for repentance and reconciliation including all Episcopal schools. The Governing Board of The National Association of Episcopal Schools meets April 21-22 in New Orleans.
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Photo by : Shawn Boyle http://shawnboylephoto.com