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Tonbridge School head teacher responds after allegations made against pupils in open letter from Zan Moon


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The head of a Kent private school has responded after allegations of sexual abuse and harassment were made against students.

The head teacher of Tonbridge School, said it was "extremely upsetting to see such behaviour attributed to pupils and alumni from our school". Tonbridge School only teaches boys.

Tonbridge School head teacher James Priory responded to the allegations levelled against pupils at his school in a letter to alumni
Tonbridge School head teacher James Priory responded to the allegations levelled against pupils at his school in a letter to alumni

The allegations form part of an open letter to eight independent schools as well as two universities. It comes as a huge number of allegations of rape culture at schools across the country have come to light, via the website Everyone's Invited.

Zan Moon, 24, a former Kent school pupil, compiled a dossier of testimonies after putting a call out on her Instagram account, asking for anyone who had been sexually assaulted by a privately educated male pupils, or experienced a "culture of misogyny".

In the letter, which was also sent to Eton College and Charterhouse, Ms Moon said she had expected just to hear back from a few people, but the response had been "overwhelming, infuriating and heart breaking".

She goes on: "Therefore, the reason you are being included in this letter is because your organisation has been mentioned in one of the many harrowing testimonies that have been shared at the end of this letter.

"The testimonies demonstrate a widespread culture of rape, coercion, slut-shaming, and compliance. These issues alone are enough to require immediate action and a total reforming of your sex education within school and at university level too.

Tonbridge School, in High Street Picture: Google
Tonbridge School, in High Street Picture: Google

"The worrying reality of this situation is that many of these young boys grow up to land some of the most powerful leadership roles in society.

"It is therefore vital, to ensure safety for women across the country, that this misogyny issue is dealt with right from the start."

It is not clear from the 16 anonymous testimonies concerning Tonbridge School pupils, when the alleged incidents happened.

The testimonies include sexual assault at social events, online abuse and pressure to send intimate photos.

One person said that when she was just 14 she sent intimate photos after being pressurised to do so. The photo was then leaked.

Overall, 91 testimonies concerning the eight schools and the University of Exeter and Bristol are included.

At the end of her letter, Ms Moon makes a number of suggestions to the schools, which include reforming sex education and clear processes for reporting harassment or bullying.

'These behaviours have no place at Tonbridge...'

In an email to alumni and friends of the school, Tonbridge School head James Priory said Ms Moon's letter contains "a number of historic allegations of sexual abuse and harassment against our students, all of which have been made anonymously."

In a statement sent to KentOnline, Mr Priory said: "I have read this open letter with significant concern. Whilst none of the testimonies include specific allegations against named individuals, it is extremely upsetting to see such behaviour attributed to pupils and alumni from our school.

"These behaviours have no place at Tonbridge and are incompatible with the ethos of care and respect for others which we do our best to teach and live by. As a school, we treat allegations of this kind with the utmost seriousness. We follow safeguarding policies and procedures in respect of all allegations brought to our attention, including notifying the relevant authorities.

"Our PSHEE programme is just one of the ways in which we deliver Relationship and Sex Education at Tonbridge. It is continuously evolving and partly delivered by external organisations. We are keen that it should be as relevant and effective as possible.

"We will be listening carefully to our students, staff and alumni, as well as to anyone who has contacted us directly from outside the school, in establishing what more we can do to ensure that sexual harassment and abuse are never accepted and that everyone will feel supported and able to come forward if they wish to."

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Tonbridge

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