Teacher suing church

Man claims ha­rass­ment af­ter ‘blow­ing whis­tle on tests’

The Cairns Post - - NEWS - PETE MARTINELLI peter.martinelli@news.com.au ed­i­to­rial@cairn­spost.com.au face­book.com/TheCairn­sPost www.cairn­spost.com.au twit­ter.com/TheCairn­sPost

AN In­n­is­fail high school maths teacher who claims he blew the whis­tle on il­le­gal test­ing prac­tices is suing the Catholic Church for al­leged bul­ly­ing and ha­rass­ment.

Mar­ius Lu­cian Tu­tos has al­leged that his ca­reer was “ir­repara­ble (sic) dam­aged” af­ter he in­formed the Cairns Catholic Dio­cese that Good Coun­sel Col­lege had reused the same maths tests and pre­pared stu­dents to an­swer them.

In doc­u­ments filed in Cairns District Court, Mr Tu­tos claimed he wit­nessed “vi­o­la­tions of the law” at Good Coun­sel Col­lege ... “that af­fected my pro­fes­sional ac­tiv­i­ties in class and my stu­dents”.

He has filed for com­pen­sa­tion of $350,000 for defama­tion, and of $120,000 for “de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of my health”.

In a no­tice of de­fence, the Dio­cese has de­nied Mr Tu­tos’ al­le­ga­tions and de­scribed many of the points raised in his claim as “vague, mean­ing­less and em­bar­rass­ing” and main­tains that the plain­tiff failed to lodge a claim with Work Cover Queens­land.

Lawyers for the Dio­cese are ex­pected to ap­ply to have the suit thrown out in Novem­ber.

Mr Tu­tos, who be­gan teach­ing at the col­lege in March 2017, al­leged he was tar­geted by a tran­si­tional lead­er­ship team at Good Coun­sel af­ter the prin­ci­pal and two deputies were re­moved in De­cem­ber that year.

“A defama­tion process has been con­ducted, with sig­nif­i­cant con­se­quences for dig­nity and rep­u­ta­tion,” Mr Tu­tos claims.

In a re­sponse to the Dio­cese no­tice to de­fend, Mr Tu­tos al­leged he dis­cov­ered “vi­o­la­tions of the law” at the col­lege.

“In in­ter­nal school as­sess­ments for each year level, the exam pa­per of­fered to school­child­ren was iden­ti­cal ... un­changed since 2012,” he stated.

“I re­alised, check­ing on the com­puter’s data, that the stu­dents were given the same exam ev­ery year in math­e­mat­ics A and B for years.

“The stu­dents were pre­pared by their teach­ers and trained specif­i­cally to be able to solve the pre­dictable ques­tions the teach­ers knew they will come up in the next test.”

Mr Tu­tos al­leged that af­ter hear­ing his con­cerns, the head of de­part­ment said “it is hap­pen­ing in many schools in Queens­land”.

The mat­ter will be men­tioned in Cairns District Court on Oc­to­ber 10 and ap­pli­ca­tions by each party are ex­pected to be heard in Novem­ber.

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