Official: disabled children ‘sexually harassed’ in Saudi schools
Students with Down’s Syndrome are being sexually harassed by other students, an official has said
The chairman of the Disability Society in the Gulf, Musaed al-Awla, said that students with Down’s Syndrome are being sexually harassed by students in general education schools in Saudi Arabia, Makkah daily reported.
The director of Special Education at the Ministry of Education, Abdullah al-Aqeel, said cases of sexual harassment are also present in girls’ schools, but they are isolated incidents.
Al-Awla said many families have withdrawn their children from schools due to the sexual harassment their children face. He criticized special education schools for failing to properly protect disabled students.
“Teachers allow all students to mix and play together during break time. Because of this, disabled children play with normal children with the latter sexually harassing them.”
Al-Aqeel, however, said cases of harassment among students exist in both boys’ and girls’ schools, and denied that only disabled children were being harassed. “These are individual and isolated cases and have not reached the level of becoming a phenomenon thanks to the values and religious teachings present in Saudi society. Every three or four years, one case occurs in one of the kingdom’s regions. The majority of these cases occur among students and rarely are teachers involved,” he said.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on April 7, 2014.
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