Trin­ity and ‘Brownie’ bury the hatchet

The Australian - - THE NATION - RICHARD FER­GU­SON

Trin­ity Gram­mar deputy head­mas­ter Ro­han “Brownie” Brown tried to speak to the me­dia but tears kept get­ting in the way.

“You’d think some­one fairly big and tall could do this well, wouldn’t you?” he said.

Stu­dents and par­ents rushed to shake the hand of Mr Brown as he of­fi­cially marked his re­in­state­ment to the school af­ter be­ing sacked by the school coun­cil for cut­ting a stu­dent’s hair.

Mr Brown and Trin­ity head­mas­ter Michael Davies pre­sented a united front yes­ter­day out­side the pres­ti­gious boys school as they both said they wanted to put the hair­cut­ting saga be­hind them.

“There is an apol­ogy I need to make to the school com­mu­nity for the dis­rup­tion that was caused at the end of last term,” Mr Brown said through tears.

“But I am so pleased to be back ... we make mis­takes and I’ve made one.”

Mr Brown thanked the school com­mu­nity for its sup­port. A stu­dent strike and elec­tronic bill­boards were some of the tac­tics used by stu­dents, par­ents and Old Boys to get Mr Brown’s job back.

“I’ve been here nearly 30 years, it’s a ter­rific school,” he said.

“There is a bit of me here. There’s a bit of the school in me.”

Mr Brown said he ac­cepted the school’s apol­ogy for his dis­missal. He was of­fered his po­si­tion back af­ter a re­view led by for­mer judge Ray Finkel­stein QC found the school coun­cil did not have the power to sack him.

The boy whose hair was cut has said he never wanted his teacher to be fired.

When asked whether he would hang up the scis­sors for good, Mr Brown said: “The ob­vi­ous an­swer is yes.”

Mr Brown’s sack­ing saw nearly half of the school coun­cil re­sign and put pres­sure on Mr Davies to fol­low suit.

The Old Trin­ity Gram­mar­i­ans did not com­ment yes­ter­day be­cause of a deal an­nounced last week with the school coun­cil where they promised not to speak to any more me­dia.

The agree­ment me­di­ated by for­mer High Court judge Su­san Cren­nan has also seen the Old Gram­mar­i­ans take down all their Face­book posts at­tack­ing the coun­cil and Mr Davies in ex­change for closer con­sul­ta­tion on a new school board.

Mr Davies avoided any dis­cus­sion of his fu­ture yes­ter­day. “You’d un­der­stand it was a try­ing time at the end of last term but we’re keen to put that be­hind us,” he said. “Per­son­ally, I look for­ward to work­ing with Mr Brown and the rest of our col­leagues to make sure the fo­cus is on, and re­mains with, the ed­u­ca­tion and well­be­ing of our boys.”

Par­ents at the Trin­ity gates told The Aus­tralian they hoped yes­ter­day’s joint ap­pear­ance would be the end of the mat­ter.

“The coun­cil un­der­es­ti­mated just how much the boys loved Brownie,” one par­ent said.

AARON FRAN­CIS; TONY GOUGH

Re­in­stated Trin­ity deputy head­mas­ter Ro­han Brown greets stu­dents re­turn­ing from hol­i­days and can’t re­sist an in­spec­tion of one stu­dent’s locks

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