A school in Sydney, Australia paid tribute to a now-deceased teacher and serial molester with an unfortunate inscription on its memorial gates, reading “He touched us all.”
Bruce Barrett, a former art teacher at the Know Grammar School, was convicted of five counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault in 2009. Before his conviction however, the school expected its students to pay tribute to the late teacher.
A former Knox Grammar School student Scott Ashton spoke with the Independent about his experiences with Barrett and his deep confusion by seeing his abuser immortalized by the school.
The fact that he was so well regarded by the school despite being a notorious molester made me feel very confused and powerless,. I felt ashamed of my abuse. I was deeply ashamed and unable to discuss it with anyone. It was an issue which I avoided because any reminder of it would cause me severe stress and interfered with my ability to function and cope on a day-to-day basis.
Ashton said that Barrett would frequently chase and tickle his students and threaten to cane them. He recalled an incident where Barrett asked him to stay behind after class to be caned, but was instead sexually assaulted.
Australia’s royal commission is currently reviewing an inquiry into the controversial memorial.