JAKARTA : Indonesia has ordered the nursery of a prestigious Jakarta international school to close following an alleged sexual assault on a six-year-old boy by cleaning staff, an official said Tuesday.
The case has sparked widespread public anger and focused attention on the high incidence of child abuse at educational institutions across the country. Police said the youngster was allegedly assaulted twice in recent months in the toilets of the nursery at the Jakarta International School, where many of the city’s expatriate community send their children. Two cleaners, who were contracted from an outside company, have been arrested and named suspects over the alleged sex assault. Lydia Freyani Hawadi, a senior education ministry official, told AFP authorities had ordered the closure of the nursery. She said the official grounds were that it did not have a proper licence to operate but added that the alleged assault also “called for a thorough investigation”.
The school confirmed the closure had been ordered but said students would be allowed to remain at the nursery until the end of the current academic year in June. “We are fully committed to working with the ministry to resolve the matter of our longstanding licences fully so that we can resume the operation of our early childhood program,” it said in a statement. “Our first priorities are the students, parents and faculty of the school.” The case has prompted calls for greater protection of youngsters at schools and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has weighed in to offer support to the victim’s family.
Around 3,000 cases of sexual abuse of minors were reported to the national commission for child protection in 2013, with 30 percent taking place in schools, said commission secretary general Samsul Ridwan. An online petition calling for harsh punishment for paedophiles has received about 50,000 signatures in the past week.