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St. Mike's board of directors backs school's leadership

Last Updated Jan 15, 2019 at 12:53 pm EST

In the wake of several allegations of assault at St Michael’s College School and the arrest of six students, the board of directors has come out in support of the school’s leadership.

In a statement released by the school, board Chair Michael Forsayeth said the directors are saddened by the recent incidents, but are united in their full support of both Principal Greg Reeves and President Jefferson Thompson.

Forsayeth called the assault allegations, “offensive to everything we stand for and to the values we strive to instill in our students.”

A total of six incidents, four of which were caught on video, are currently being investigated by police. Charges have already been laid against six students in connection with an alleged sexual assault involving a broomstick in a locker room.

The school has also expelled eight students and suspended one in connection with at least two of the incidents.

Reeves has faced criticism for failing to report the video of the alleged sexual assault to police for almost 48 hours, but insists he held off because the victim hadn’t yet told his family about the incident.

Police have said the school should have immediately reported the alleged sexual assault

The board also said it believes leadership at the school has the full support from alumni.

“Witness a standing ovation at last night’s alumni meeting, many whom are current and past parents,” the board said. “I believe that Dr. Thompson and Mr. Reeves have their overwhelming support.”

St. Michael’s has said it’s launching an independent examination into what it called “underlying attitudes and behaviours inconsistent with its culture and values.”

Reeves said an “external review committee” will be created in the next two to three weeks and he hopes a preliminary examination will be done by spring, with a more in-depth investigation to be completed by next summer.

The Roman Catholic private school has also cancelled its mid-year assessments as well as all events involving external groups, teams, and public performances for the remainder of the year.

Here is the board’s statement in full.

“We are deeply saddened by the recent incidents that have taken place at our beloved school. They are offensive to everything we stand for and to the values we strive to instill in our students. Throughout this difficult time, our first priority remains on the victims and the safety and well-being of the entire student body, faculty, and staff.

As a Board, we are united in our support of the School’s leadership. Both President Fr. Jefferson Thompson, CSB and Principal Greg Reeves were hired because of their dedication and care for students throughout their careers. That remains the primary focus, and they continue to have the full support of the Board for how this situation is being handled. They are both men of the highest integrity and continue to have our trust to lead us forward. Witnessing the standing ovation at last night’s alumni meeting, many of whom are current and past parents, I believe that Fr. Thompson and Mr. Reeves have their overwhelming support. As a school community, we want to ensure that these incidents do not happen again.”

Related stories:

How the St. Michael’s College school sex assault scandal unfolded

St. Michael’s College School students expelled after video of alleged group sex assault circulates

‘Toxic masculinity’ or ‘a brotherhood’: St. Mike’s alumni weigh in on life at the school

St. Michael’s College School reveals third incident, says it didn’t report alleged sexual assault immediately