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. It’s three years since the school was warned by an old boy that a storm of allegations would soon be upon it; two years since the school first apologised for the actions of its former staff members.
Vulnerable boys who were harmed by Ian Wilson, Ross Browne, Graham Lindsay and others, have told their stories to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care, and to the school, and to courts, and to journalists. Their bravery has been outstanding and god knows (I use the term deliberately) they deserve whatever the school, or society, can give them.