ELITE TRIN­ITY COUN­CIL RIPPED APART

Herald Sun - - FRONT PAGE - ASH­LEY ARGOON

TUR­MOIL hit elite Trin­ity Gram­mar yes­ter­day as the school coun­cil was ripped apart over its de­ci­sion to sack the deputy prin­ci­pal for cut­ting a stu­dent’s hair.

Three mem­bers of the school coun­cil re­signed — in­clud­ing its chair — less than 24 hours af­ter an ex­plo­sive school com­mu­nity meet­ing of 1500 peo­ple voted unan­i­mously to oust them.

It fol­lows a week of stu­dent protests and par­ent meet­ings af­ter the coun­cil re­moved 30-year vet­eran Ro­han Brown for trim­ming a boy’s hair on school photo day.

School coun­cil chair­man Rod Lyle, deputy chair David Wal­dren and John Grover all re­signed while mem­ber Robert Ut­ter was pro­moted to school coun­cil chair.

Trin­ity also reaf­firmed its com­mit­ment to prin­ci­pal Michael Davies, de­spite a school com­mu­nity mo­tion be­ing passed to re­move him — just 28 peo­ple of 1500 wanted him to stay.

TRIN­ITY Gram­mar is in cri­sis as the school coun­cil crum­bled yes­ter­day amid mount­ing pres­sure over its de­ci­sion to sack a beloved deputy prin­ci­pal over a hair­cut.

Three school coun­cil mem­bers re­signed with a cur­rent mem­ber pro­moted to chair, de­spite 1500 peo­ple from the school com­mu­nity vot­ing unan­i­mously to boot them out.

Old Trin­ity Gram­mar­ian As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent David Baum­gart­ner said the ap­point­ment of Robert Ut­ter to chair the coun­cil was “ut­terly un­ac­cept­able”. “He is the grand­fa­ther of this toxic cul­ture of de­tach­ment and mis­lead­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion,” he said.

It’s un­der­stood six of the orig­i­nal nine school coun­cil mem­bers who sacked deputy prin­ci­pal Ro­han Brown for cut­ting a pupil’s hair on school photo day re­main.

It fol­lows a week of chaos, in­clud­ing stu­dent protests and heated com­mu­nity meet­ings, af­ter the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to re­move the 30-year vet­eran.

School coun­cil chair­man Rod Lyle, deputy chair David Wal­dren and John Grover all re­signed yes­ter­day.

It came a day af­ter a spe­cial meet­ing where the school com­mu­nity passed a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in the coun­cil and prin­ci­pal Michael Davies.

The school has re­mained stead­fast in its sup­port for Dr Davies, en­dors­ing him de­spite only 28 peo­ple out of 1500 wish­ing for him to re­main.

A state­ment is­sued by Trin­ity Gram­mar yes­ter­day af­ter­noon said Dr Davies had no part in the de­ci­sion to re­move Mr Brown.

“I want to as­sure the Trin­ity com­mu­nity that I am res­o­lute in my fo­cus to lead this school,” Dr Davies said in the state­ment. “I will not waiver in my de­ter­mi­na­tion to en­able an en­vi­ron­ment where all stu­dents can thrive.

“While much has been said over the past days, my fo­cus, and that of the wider Trin­ity team, is to pro­vide our boys with the very best of holis­tic ed­u­ca­tion and devel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“I am ex­cited to be work­ing with Robert Ut­ter, a highly re­spected and re­garded mem­ber of our com­mu­nity. I also thank the coun­cil for their on­go­ing sup­port.”

The Trin­ity Gram­mar state­ment out­lined the “strong per­for­mance” of Dr Davies and the school, say­ing it had be­come “one of the high­est per­form­ing schools in Vic­to­ria” un­der Dr Davies.

A state­ment by Mr Lyle and Mr Wal­dren said it had “be­come ap­par­ent that our val­ues are not shared by sec­tions of the wider school com­mu­nity”.

“We main­tain that we and the coun­cil acted with in­tegrity and in the best in­ter­ests of the school — its staff, par­ents and, above all, its stu­dents — in tak­ing ac­tion over the re­cent be­hav­iour of the school’s former deputy head­mas­ter, Mr Ro­han Brown.

“This be­hav­iour was, in the unan­i­mous view of the coun­cil, un­ac­cept­able and in­com­pat­i­ble with the val­ues of Trin­ity Gram­mar and with con­tem­po­rary com­mu­nity stan­dards.”

They said they were con­fi­dent they would be “vin­di­cated in the ac­tion we took”.

The Vic­to­rian In­sti­tute of Teach­ing con­firmed it is was in­ves­ti­gat­ing Mr Brown over claims of se­ri­ous mis­con­duct.

No com­plaints have been made, how­ever the VIT was prompted to in­ves­ti­gate af­ter re­ceiv­ing no­tice from Trin­ity Gram­mar of its ac­tion against Mr Brown on Fri­day.

The boy at the cen­tre of the drama has cam­paigned for Mr Brown’s re­turn, lead­ing chants at stu­dent protests on Tues­day.

Trin­ity Gram­mar stu­dents at Tues­day’s protest. ROD LYLE CHAIR­MAN DAVID WAL­DREN DEPUTYCHAIRMAN JOHNGROVER COUN­CILMEM­BER

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