Teachers at Maryborough's Highview College continue to express their concerns about conditions at the school, with the Independent Education Union of Australia hosting a meeting with staff on Tuesday.
Australian Community Media understands a member of staff was suspended from duty for allegedly making a reference to putting a student's head in a vice after the student misbehaved in a technology class recently, drilling into a desk.
The student was expelled from the school two days later.
Other teachers who spoke to Australian Community Media expressed their reservations over a perceived lack of action after a survey and questionnaire conducted by the union in 2017 and 2019 showed teachers complained of a series of behaviours.
These include: 'intimidation, psychological harassment, allocation of meaningless or degrading tasks not related to their main teaching role, being excluded or ignored, allocation of tasks or targets impossible to complete or changed at short notice, workplace changes without consultation, lack of information vital to effective work performance, hurtful or rude jokes or comments, threats of termination, and unsubstantiated, damaging claims or accusations about staff.'
One former teacher said the high turnover of staff at the college - "they've left in droves to be replaced by graduates or old crusty dudes" - has also severely affected morale. She said at least 35 staff have left the school recently, and year seven enrolments had fallen, with only three classes being taken in this year, compared with four previously.
There are reasonable concerns, as there are in any school, but Highview has made impressive progress in the past year in the development of proper governance and community harmony- Stephen Higgs, Ecumenical Schools Australia
Highview College principal Melinda Scash denied the survey and questionnaire results had been "buried" in response to a question from Australian Community Media, and said a consultative committee for teachers was in place.
In response to a question regarding the vice incident Ms Scash said, "any action taken in regard to staff discipline complies with law."
"Staff have strong and appropriate employment protections. Every student also has the right to feel safe in their learning environment."
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Ecumenical Schools Australia executive general manager Stephen Higgs said while he had received a wide range of concerns about Highview in correspondence to him, he regarded much of it as 'completely inaccurate.'
Highview is a member of the ESA, formerly known as the Victorian Ecumencial System of Schools.
"There are reasonable concerns, as there are in any school, but Highview has made impressive progress in the past year in the development of proper governance and community harmony," Mr Higgs said.
In response to queries about the composition and effectiveness of the school's current board, Mr Higgs said there was no question about its legitimacy.
"The range of skills which it has equips it to deal with issues as they arise and I understand that they are going about these matters in a professional way," he said.
"For example, the chair and a member with HR expertise met recently with a representative of the Victorian Independent Education Union and agreed upon a structural response to union concerns.
"That said, these issues take time to address.
"After a complex consultative process in the development of a new constitution, and the recruitment of new directors, the new board has been fully functional only since August, so should to be allowed time to reach full effectiveness."
Australian Community Media has contacted the Independent Education Union for comment.
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