The dignity of several athletes was “compromised” during their time in high school in Saint-Laurent. This is the conclusion of a government investigation launched five months ago after three establishment basketball coaches were charged with sex crimes.
Posted at 12:58 PM
Updated at 1:36 PM
“The investigation made it possible to identify significant deficiencies in supervision and control related to the basketball program at Saint-Laurent School. In light of the information collected, the dignity of several athletes has been compromised during their time at Saint-Laurent School,” the Ministry of Education said in its investigative report released Tuesday.
Three high school coaches in Saint-Laurent were charged with sexual offenses on February 3. The press had also reported a “super-harmful” climate, characterized by verbal aggression and intimidation, within the women’s basketball program.
Quebec, which had launched an administrative inquiry in the following days, believes that this school also had “extremely low levels of organizational trust”.
Daniel Lacasse, well known in the school sports world, is head of the Saint-Laurent school basketball program and is accused of sexual exploitation. The other two coaches, Robert Luu and Charles-Xavier Boislard, are charged with sexual interference, solicitation of sexual contact and assault. Mr Boislard was also charged with sexual exploitation.
The Ministry of Education took advantage of this foray on Tuesday to make a series of recommendations to the Center de services scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys (CSSMB), including “improving the control of sports programs” at Saint Laurent school. Quebec is also proposing “to commission an independent outside company to conduct an intervention on climate and incivility” at this establishment, which had been done but was abandoned by the CSSMB in late February.
It is also recommended that the School Service Center – through an independent accounting firm – conduct a financial audit of sports programs, and then “mandatory” training on bystander intervention in schools, to make them aware of the “spectator effect”.
Finally, Quebec proposes to equip service centers and sports federations to “change the culture of sports programs”, giving the first priority to “respect for the dignity of athletes”. Despite everything, the authorities warn that it will be necessary “to ensure the development of sporting excellence” at the Saint-Laurent school, recognized for the quality of its training program offered to female basketball players.
The government assures that it “commits to follow the recommendations and monitor their implementation in the network”. Note that the study was conducted “in conjunction” with another study initiated more specifically on the “how” in which Basketball Quebec handled the Saint-Laurent high school situation. Indeed, new doubts have arisen about the “wrong and unhealthy” values that the sports federation has put forward in recent years.
“We will spare no expense”
For its part, the Center de services scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys ensures that the recommendations are implemented. “The administration of the school’s women’s basketball program, which is the target of the findings, will make every effort to ensure it lives up to expectations and reflects the values of respect and dignity that we uphold,” the group said Tuesday. in a press release. †
The organization also reiterates its confidence in the current management team of École Saint-Laurent to make the necessary changes.
In the meantime, anyone who has been a victim or witness of sexual acts at the Saint-Laurent school is invited to contact the investigators of the Sexual Violence Division of the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM). 514-280-8502, or go to a local police station. To send information anonymously, the Info-Crime Montreal center can also be reached at 514-393-1133. A notification form can also be filled in via the website.