Junior Verbeeke

Secondary school in Blankenberge suspends teacher suspected of sexual offenses with pupils

The Sint-Jozef Sint-Pieterschool, a secondary school in the West Flemish coastal municipality of Blankenberge, has suspended a teacher that accused of sexual offenses with minors. The teacher is accused of having had sex with a total of four pupils. Last week the teacher went to the police and admitted the offences. He was formally arrested and on Tuesday he was remanded in custody for a further month.

Procedural steps that need to be followed in order to suspend a teacher meant that it is only now that the school has been able formally suspend the 27-year-old. The school had said previously that given the seriousness of the offences the teacher would never be allowed to return. The schools’ Head Rudi Boydens told VRT News that "This is a preventive suspension which is the first step in the internal disciplinary procedure."

In the meantime, the school says it is making every effort to support students and staff and to ensure that lessons can continue as normally as possible. "Our thoughts and support go out to our students, parents, our school team and everyone affected by what has happened”, Mr Boydens said.

Four victims

It has emerged the teacher had sex with four pupils, the youngest of whom was only 14. His lawyer Bart Bleyaert says that his client realises that he has made a serious mistake. Mr Bleyaert told VRT News that "He wonders how this could have happened and is aware that he needs help. He has also applied for counseling to work on his issues."


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