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Parents still trust JIS despite rape case
Publication Date : 03-05-2014
Amid headline-grabbing concerns over sexual abuse within the Jakarta International School (JIS), parents continue to send their children to this school.
During a visit to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, two mothers, accompanied by JIS head of school Timothy Carr and deputy head of school Stephen Druggan, said they believed JIS was the best school for their children.
One mother whose two daughters study at JIS elementary school, Maya, told the Post that she was shocked by the allegations and confused as to how it could happen in the school, deemed to be one of the safest in the city.
“I was worried that my daughters could also be victims,” she said.
Maya said she was mad at first as the school was not forthcoming with information. She said her anger waned after the school started to regularly disseminate information on the progress of the case and what the school was doing to address it.
The rape case was revealed after the mother of a 6-year-old kindergarten pupil, filed a report with the Jakarta Police earlier this month. The police have apprehended five suspects and another committed suicide while in police custody.
According to the police, the suspects admitted to sexually assaulting the child five times in groups of three or four. They also said they raped two other boys, once each time. The seven assaults occurred in the school restrooms between January and March.
The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) said the family of another boy had reported that their son was also assaulted.
Maya played down the possibility of more victims. “If I were the mother of the victim, I would go to the school not to the police or KPAI. Yet, none of the parents did,” she said.
She also questioned why the victims continued to attend school if they had been assaulted.
Maya said she was concerned that information circulating on mass media discredited the school.
“My children were bullied by students from other schools. They ask why my children still go to JIS as it is not safe,” she said.
Another parent, whose sons also study at JIS elementary, Indah, agreed with Maya regarding the piece of mind afforded by regular updates from the school.
“The school facilitated training and provided counseling for parents to learn how to find out whether their children were also abused,” she said.
She said that if the case could happen in JIS, it could happen anywhere else as the school was very safe.
According to the parents, JIS has instigated a number of measures to increase safety.
“They have installed more CCTV cameras and changed the restroom doors to swing doors so the feet of the occupants are still visible,” Maya said.
She added that security was stricter. “Although the guards know my face, I cannot enter school without an identity card [ID],” she said.
Meanwhile, the mother of the initial victim has said that the school was not open about the case.
“The school even prohibited the Teacher Parents Association from meeting with the police and KPAI,” she said.
The mother added that no one from the school had apologized and only sent a text message to her
JIS, comprising early childhood education to high school, currently has 2,600 students from 63 different countries.