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St Kevin’s College announces child safety plans after ‘serious mistakes’

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The new principal of Melbourne’s St Kevin’s College plans to implement additional child protection safeguards after the school’s abuse scandal left student victims severely “wounded”.

The new principal of Melbourne's St Kevin's College plans to implement additional child protection safeguards after the school's abuse scandal left student victims severely "wounded".

Acting Principal John Crowley faced reporters today, announcing a review of the school's child protection policies and procedures, which would include the appointment of a Director of Safeguarding.

It comes after the school's headmaster Stephen Russell resigned after it was revealed he provided a reference at the request of former sports coach Peter Kehoe, who was convicted of sexually grooming a Year 9 student.

Mr Crowley acknowledged the school had made "serious mistakes" and faced a challenging task of mending the cracks in the college's respected reputation following its handling of the case.

"It's very clear some serious mistakes were made," he said.

"We need to respond to those with honesty, integrity and acknowledge that we need to move forward into the future with a child safe culture.

"I have a zero tolerance of any risk to children."

Mr Crowley takes on the role after 23 years as a teacher and principal at Ballarat's St Patrick's College, where he led the school during a Royal Commission into its dark history of sexual abuse.

He said he had reached out to the St Kevin's victims who shared their stories of sexual abuse on ABC's Four Corners, encouraging any other students with "issues" to also speak-up.

"I would encourage any student, former and current, to use their voice and come and speak to me if there's an issue," Mr Crowley said.

"We need to be able to walk a journey with people who have been wounded. Any issue both historical and current will be responded to."

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Mr Russell and Dean of Sports Luke Travers have been stood down from the school in the wake of the Four Corners report, while Director of Studies Gary Jones, teacher Simon Parris and Deputy Principal Janet Canny have also had their employment "concluded".

Mr Crowley said he was not aware of any parents pulling their children out of the college.

He claimed despite the "errors" in the school's handling of case, the college was a "wonderful place to be".

"The staff are an amazing group of educators," Mr Crowley said.

The principal has also had conversations with students about their behaviour in public, to stamp out any inappropriate actions following the derogatory chant on a tram last year.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/st-kevins-college-acting-principal-announces-child-safety-plans-after-abuse-allegations/849994d1-6a16-4ef9-a7a5-e8ef5d5654d0

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