Comment: Watchwords should be care and caution

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the investigation into the handling of a complaint by a vulnerable student at Castlebrae High School is of the utmost importance to the city.

Events at the school in recent months have caused great concern throughout the community and any suggestion that the complaints procedures followed at the school were not up to scratch will only deepen those worries.

It is neither easy nor straightforward to deal with allegations of improper behaviour made against professionals working with children.

The truth can be difficult to reach, especially when you are dealing with situations where it is one person’s word against another’s.

Teachers, of course, deserve to be treated with respect and no-one would suggest the police should be called in at the first suggestion of anything untoward.

But every complaint of this nature has to be thoroughly investigated. The watchwords should be care and caution.

We do not yet know the full details of everything that happened at the school or the way in which this particular complaint was dealt with. But the concerns being raised are extremely serious.

The stakes involved could hardly be higher. This is a case involving allegations of improper behaviour by a teacher involving a vulnerable student.

Of course anyone who raises a complaint against someone in authority deserves to be taken seriously. If there turns out to be any truth in these allegations, then they could be extremly damaging.

Public confidence in the complaints system being used in the city is at stake.

The fact that the chief executive has ordered a full and wide-
ranging inquiry has to be welcomed. In order to protect and restore public confidence, the results of the inquiry must be made as public as possible in due course, while protecting any innocent parties involved.