School makes boys, en masse apologise to girls at assembly

A lesson on sexual consent at an Australian school has gone badly awry.

Male students as young as 12 at Brauer College in Victoria were directed to “stand up and apologise” to their female peers – simply because of their gender.

A parent, Danielle Shepherd says her son is “confused and upset” by the incident at an all-school assembly on Wednesday.

“They watched a video to do with sexual consent and at the end of it they were made to stand up and apologise to the opposite gender on behalf of their own gender,” she said.

“He wasn’t sure why, he just knows that he was told to get up and apologise for things he hadn’t done.

“He’s upset by it – he now has this misconception that everybody looks at him and males as predators or somebody wishing to do harm to someone in a sexualised manner – seriously, he’s 12.”

Shepherd says she agrees with sexual consent as a topic being raised and discussed at school, but the school’s method was “terribly executed.”

“They’ve singled out an entire gender – it’s so wrong,” she says.

One Snapchat post, understood to be from a male student at the school, also took aim at the assembly.

“Today at Brauer they made every guy stand up and apologise to every girl for rape, sexual assault … so on.”

“Guys go through as much shit as girls do,” the post said.

The school wrote to parents about the assembly the next day, conceding the gesture was “inappropriate”.

“At the assembly we spoke about the difficult topic of derogatory and sexualised language and violence against women. The assembly also covered the idea of bystander action and how students have the power to play a role in stopping inappropriate behaviour,” principal Jane Boyle explained.

As part of these discussions, the school’s boys were asked to stand, as a symbolic gesture, apologise for the behaviours of their gender that have hurt or offended girls and women.

“I’d like to assure you that this was conceived with the best of intentions. However, in retrospect we recognise that this was inappropriate.”

At present sexual harassment in Australian schools is being widely discussed. The Victorian state government is making sexual consent classes mandatory across Victorian schools as of next month.


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