Police arrested four youths on Wednesday in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a female student at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute.

Officers carried out a series of pre-dawn raids on Wednesday morning. Police are still searching for two youths in connection with the case.

The identities of the suspects cannot be released due to provisions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

A three-member safety panel, headed by human rights lawyer Julian Falconer, was formed in response to the shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Manners at the school last May.

While investigating safety issues at the institute, the panel unearthed allegations that a 14-year-old Grade 9 student was allegedly sexually assaulted at the school. The police say these allegations were not previously reported to them.

"These are very serious charges and this is a very serious offence," Supt. Roy Pilkington told CTV News on Wednesday. "We have a young girl who has been scarred to some degree and will have to live with this forever."

The youths have each been charged with:

  • Forcible confinement;
  • Gang sexual assault; and
  • Conspiracy to commit indictable offence.

The suspects were to appear at the Finch Avenue courts on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Toronto District School Board trustees attended a special meeting on Wednesday where they voted to ask the province for more funding for the school safety study.

The study has cost nearly $500,000 so far. The majority of trustees approved asking for an additional $350,000 to extend the panel's work until Dec. 15.

But several trustees argued the dollars can be better spent.

"I don't believe that yet another report, after so many several reports have come forward over the past two years, will get us any closer to preventing kids from getting shot or stabbed at our schools or near our schools," said trustee Josh Matlow.

He points out the province and the city are also conducting a study on safe schools.

But trustee Cathy Dandy sys a more in-depth investigation is crucial.

"This is a significant problem that we've been unable to get at. We know what the stories are, we don't have the data to enforce the issues," Dandy said.

Board chairwoman Sheila Ward also backs the request for a better probe into school violence.

"I think the most irresponsible thing we could do would be to run out and try to impose solutions without having an absolute handle on what the problem is," Ward said.

With reports from CTV's Austin Delaney and Naomi Parness