How Dilworth School could start to atone for its dark past

Alison Mau | Stuff | 10 October 2021


Below is an excerpt from Alison Mau's article, to read the complete article click here:

https://www.stuff.co.nz/opinion/300426728/how-dilworth-school-could-start-to-atone-for-its-dark-past


OPINION: Never look a gift horse in the mouth. That's the first phrase that sprang to mind when Dilworth School announced plans to compensate former students who were sexually abused by its teachers, over many decades.


But Dilworth's offer of money (details of which are yet to be released) is not a gift, of course. It would be fundamentally wrong to consider it a gift. Those whose school years, and often their adulthoods, were blighted might properly consider it a right – or if not that, then certainly the very least the school can and should do.


The Dilworth survivors have walked a long, long road to this point.


Survivor-focussed, comprehensive and restorative. Those are fine and soothing words, and for the sake of the survivors they deserve our very close scrutiny. What would a survivor-focussed process really look like for the Dilworth men?


From my experience, you can't have any of that, without accountability.


But what accountability will there be for school administrators, who may have been told of the abuse at the time but did little, or nothing to stop it?


What accountability will there be for the school leaders who allowed housemaster Rex McIntosh to quietly resign after allegations were made against him in 1979?


Dilworth will fail in its lofty ambition if it does not truly front up, connect the dots of the past and hold itself properly accountable.

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