James Cook High School

Important Message for the Community

Tēnā koutou katoa,

I wish to provide our community with information about a serious and upsetting matter that relates to a former teacher at our school. 

We are today able to inform our community for the first time that Mr S. Ramiah has been facing charges in the District Court relating to allegations of sexual conduct towards a student during his time as a teacher at the school.  We appreciate this will be very upsetting for our community as Mr Ramiah had been a trusted and long serving member of our school since the early 2000’s. 

We have not been privy to the full details of the Police investigation but we have been advised that he has now pleaded guilty to two charges relating to a former student.  As part of this process, strict name suppression orders have been in place.  They have just been lifted, which means we can only now tell you about this case for the first time. When the matter went to court earlier this year the school asked for the school’s name suppression to be lifted so that we could communicate with our school whānau openly and transparently, and so we can put the right supports in place for those who need them.  

Our priority is supporting any former/current students and families who have been affected by Mr Ramiah and his offending.  We are committed to protecting the privacy of anyone impacted. 

Police advised the school of the allegations during their investigation in 2022.  Mr Ramiah was immediately placed on leave and subsequently dismissed by the Board of Trustees. He has not been at school since that time.  The Teaching Council was informed, as required.  Due to the police and courts process and the name suppression orders in place, we were not able to tell our community until now.

We acknowledge there is very limited information that we can share at this point as the case is still before the courts.  Sentencing has yet to occur.  We cannot provide you with further information until the case concludes.

There may be a range of emotions as we come to terms with this news as a community. We are also aware that sometimes issues like this can bring trauma to the surface – whether related or unrelated to this former teacher.  It is important that our former/current students, their families and the community feel supported as they work through this news. 

We wish to ensure the wellbeing of all of our students, whānau, carers and community and so ask you to please be sensitive about how and where you raise the issue and who you talk to about it.  

Telling the students

We will be holding special year group assemblies today so that students are told in general terms about this case and the possible media attention that may come with it. Students will be informed about the support that is available if needed and reminded to be sensitive to others around them as this information will impact people differently. As always, our staff will be monitoring student wellbeing and working hard to maintain a settled and happy school environment.  It would be good for whānau and carers to check in with your young person tonight to see how they are feeling after hearing this news.

Seeking support

We want to assure students and families that we take very seriously anything that impacts on the health, safety or wellbeing of our students.  If you need help to understand this letter, please contact the school office and our staff will put you in touch with someone in the Senior Leadership team.

We have put a number of supports in place.

If a current or former student needs support of any kind, including someone to listen to their experiences or concerns, or to talk through how they are feeling, our school can help. 

Current students or families can contact our school counsellors, our year level or whānau deans, our MANA team, and/or the Senior Leadership team.  Former students can make contact with the Principal/Tumuaki through the school office or by using the confidential email: support@jchs.school.nz.

Anything you tell us will be held in complete confidence. We urge you to make use of any support services that you are comfortable with. 

For parents, carers and families, support is also available through a number of publicly available services. Current or former students can also use these services if they would like to contact someone unconnected to the school.  

Some support services include:

Youthline –  Support for young people for all issues (24 hours a day) 0800 376 633 – https://www.youthline.co.nz/

Safe To Talk – Sexual harm helpline 0800 044 334 (24 hours a day) – https://safetotalk.nz/

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 – (24 hours a day)  https://www.lifeline.org.nz/

Further links to support services can be found under Helplines & Outside Agency Support.

Alternatively, if anyone has any information or concerns about this former teacher’s conduct, they can directly contact the New Zealand Police on 105 or at your local police station. If you need support contacting the Police, please let us know.

We will continue to put resources and support information on our website over the coming days so that it can be found easily if or when anyone needs it. 

We thank you for your support of our students.  As the Tumuaki (Principal) of this school, there is nothing more important to me than our students being safe and happy while in our care.  It is important to me that you know that I am available to you – please feel free to contact me through the school office or at the dedicated and confidential email address: support@jchs.school.nz. This email address will be accessed by the Tumuaki and selected senior staff only. Again, this will be in the strictest confidence. 

I will update you further as more information comes to hand, including once sentencing occurs. In the meantime, please know that my aroha and thoughts are with you all, our JCHS community.

Tina Filipo

Jaylene Ball
Presiding Member (Board of Trustees)                                                                                                      

Waerea te rangi e tū iho nei
Let the protecting sky cover us
Waerea te papa e takoto nei
Let the protective earth comfort us