School slow to react as aide allegedly shows nudes to kids
THE school at the centre of a nude image scandal failed to contact police on the day of the incident because the alleged offender was a staff member.
Last week the Bulletin revealed a teacher's aide had allegedly shown a naked picture of himself to Year 4 students. The Bulletin understands it took the school 24 hours to notify police that the incident had occurred.
Officer-in-charge Townsville Child Protection Investigation unit detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles said the "first notification that came in front of us was from the parents".
It will be alleged a 25-year-old man showed Year 4 children a nude image of himself while they were at school on October 19.
Neither the name of the alleged offender nor the school involved can be revealed for legal reasons. The foreign national who was in Australia on a working visa did not hold a blue card - the legal requirement for working with children.
A spokesman for the Department of Education confirmed there was "an established process in place for the notification of student protection matters when the alleged perpetrator is a staff member".
This involves first notifying the department's ethical standards committee, who then assess the matter and inform police if deemed necessary.
Had the alleged offender not been a staff member police would have been notified immediately.
Education Minister Kate Jones said the school's principal fired the alleged offender on the spot and notified the Education Department's ethical standards committee at 4.53pm on the date of the incident. She said police were subsequently contacted by the committee the following day.
"If we find that the school or the department has failed in their duty of care then there will be consequences," Ms Jones said.
"I have ordered a full investigation into this matter. That's already under way - high-level meetings have started.
"Every parent has a right to send their child to school and know that they are going to be safe."
The LNP is opposing the Government's internal investigation and has called for an independent review.
Opposition education spokeswoman Tracy Davis said it was clear the case had exposed serious systemic breakdowns that put Townsville children at risk.
"The case raises so many serious questions such as how did this man ever get a job in that school without a blue card and were police and parents properly notified of any suspect activity," Ms Davis said.
"The last thing Townsville parents and kids affected by this disturbing case need is another Annastacia Palaszczuk cover-up.
"Any investigation into the Department of Education's handling of this case has be totally independent and free from the interference of this Labor Government."
Investigators from the Child Protection Investigation unit originally charged the accused with one count of exposing a child under 16 to an indecent image on October 20. Two more counts of the same charge were laid on Friday.
Sen-Sgt Miles said a total of three children were shown one image.
The accused will next appear before Townsville Magistrates Court on November 3.