The identity of the victim will remain anonymous because she is a minor (Jacqueline Gelineau/Capital News)

The identity of the victim will remain anonymous because she is a minor (Jacqueline Gelineau/Capital News)

Protests continue as West Kelowna students fight to remove alleged sexual abuser

‘No means no’ protest at Stuart park Sunday Feb. 27 at noon

A student at Mt. Boucherie Secondary School claims she was sexually assaulted by another student in November, and despite reporting the incident to officials alleges nothing has been done.

She reported the incident to RCMP and months afterwards stated she has yet to see any repercussions for her assailant. As this story involves minors, Capital News is not disclosing any of the names of any of those involved.

The student came forward to Capital News to tell her story and explain she was initially resistant to filing the report but decided it was for the best when she found out other girls were claiming to be victims of the same student she had reported to police. She said that there is at least one other police report filed against him for allegedly sexually assaulting another Mt. Boucherie student.

Cpl. Tammy Lobb explained that the investigation is ongoing but is unable to comment on specifics of the case at this time, as it is before the courts.

The accused continues to attend regular classes at Mt. Boucherie and although he is facing social backlash, has had no formal punishment to date.

“We have to walk past our assaulter (sic) in the hallways,” said the victim.

She said that in similar cases, the perpetrator is transferred to another school or moved to online learning. She said that sexual assault is not uncommon at the secondary school and that multiple female students have begun to speak out about their experiences.

When asked about why the perpetrator is attending regular classes, Kevin Kaardal, Superintendent of Central Okanagan Public Schools said that school staff is working with the students in the school to explore how the school district can “continue to provide safe and caring school environments.”

With the help of her friends, the victim has organized ‘no means no’ protests to raise awareness of the sexual assault that is prevalent at her high school and to advocate for a school free from abusers. The protest is gaining traction and other schools across the Okanagan-Kamloops area have organized protests of their own.

READ MORE: Protest at West Kelowna’s Mt. Boucherie Secondary

The Mt. Boucherie students have organized another protest at Stuart Park, 1430 Water St., Kelowna on Sunday, Feb. 27, at noon. She said that members of the public are invited to come out and show their support.

“The district supports student voice that brings awareness to creating a culture of consent,” said Kaardal.

The victim stated that school staff has been supportive and respectful throughout the protests, but wishes more action was being taken.

Students protesting and chanting ‘no means no’ outside of Mt. Boucherie Secondary School (Instagram)

Students protesting and chanting ‘no means no’ outside of Mt. Boucherie Secondary School (Instagram)

She said that the school principal told her, he was shocked to find out the number of sexual assaults that have allegedly taken place “in his hallways.” Although the victim found this perplexing.

The victim told Capital News that the school has a bill in place outlining how to manage sexual assault allegations.

“In every case that is reported to the school, staff follow a protocol jointly developed by the Elizabeth Fry Society, the RCMP and the District,” said Kaardal. “Counselling services, and offer to connect with outside support agencies are also offered to those individuals involved in an allegation.”

The accuser said that she has not been offered any of the resources mentioned in the school’s sexual assault bill.

She also stated that the Elizabeth Fry Society will be visiting the school next week but was unsure of the exact purpose of the visit, or what to expect.

“Safety plans for all involved are put in place. Safety is our top priority. Reports to the RCMP may result in different conditions for those involved. The school district follows those conditions as a part of its actions and safety plan. Each circumstance is unique,” said Kaardal.

Kaardal said he will not comment on specific actions or specific claims for the privacy and protection of all minors involved.


@Rangers_mom
Jacqueline.Gelineau@kelownacapnews.com

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City of KelownaCity of West KelownaRCMPsexual assault