Monday, August 29, 2005

Detur Gloria Soli Deo



How nice to see the old school in the news. Such warm memories of carefree days peeling with laughter and soaking in wisdom. Hold on, that was a movie I saw...

Any suggestion that the school was any different when I was there is laughable. If we trust psychiatrists, most of the mental hygeine problems I have today trace back to being raped, beaten, taunted, and spiritually abused during six years sentenced to this low-church anglican bedlam.

Sanity for Today!

Coming Soon: Trinity Grammar School Bullying, the Class Action.


One boy's cry for help exposed a culture of bullying in a Sydney private school and triggered widespread change, Frank Walker writes.

THE VICTIM of the Trinity Grammar bullying case this week celebrated an out-of-court settlement with the school by heading off to therapy - just as he has done for the past five years. It's a well-established routine that helps him deal with the nightmares he still suffers after repeated assaults by a gang of bullies in the school dormitory when he was in year 10.


The victim, now 21, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, but his father says a weight seems to have lifted from his shoulders after the settlement. "He is a very different boy," the father says. "He is relieved it is over. We are happy and now want to move on."


Although neither party can talk about the settlement, compensation experts say it could be as much as $500,000.

The victim, however, still can't manage to talk to his family about what happened at the Trinity boarding house. All his father knows is what he read in the police statement of facts tendered to Bidura Children's Court in 2001. The details included assaults with a large wooden dildo, dubbed "the anaconda" that one of the boys made in one of the school's woodwork classes.


The father has always feared that for every assault in the court documents, many more had gone unreported. "One of the worst things is that he was betrayed by boys he thought were his friends," the father said. "He was part of that group of boys who turned on him. They had come to our home as guests, but for some reason they turned on him and what they did to him . . . wooden dildos . . . for Christ's sake!"


While the names of those involved in the case have been suppressed for legal reasons, The Sun-Herald has kept in contact with several of the victims in the past four years. The younger, year 9 victim, who was 14 when he was assaulted more than 50 times, has sadly gone off the rails. He left Trinity to finish his School Certificate at a government school and says he was happy there because nobody bullied him. But recently he has been in trouble, charged with breaking into a car.


Now 18, he refuses to live with his grandmother, who raised him, and who fears he has fallen into bad company. "He is in no man's land," says his concerned grandmother.


"It [the bullying] has devastated him," she says. "He could have been a top sportsman but everything fell apart after he went to that school. The school didn't even tell us about the bullying.


"The first we knew was we got a call from the police saying he would be a witness in the case they were bringing against the year 10 boys. The school knew he had problems as both his parents died, but they didn't protect him.
"His two brothers at the school also left. The younger one was bullied by others who said he was the brother of a dobber. He left the school too."


The younger boy won an out-of-court settlement in 2003. The terms can't be disclosed but some sources say the payout was also as much as $500,000. The victim's lawyer, Ben Slade, was horrified by the student's account of the bullying. "There was an environment of fear inside the school. Every day was grounded in fear and my client suffered more than 50 assaults. It was soul destroying and psychologically, permanently damaging."


The bullies went to other schools to finish their Higher School Certificate, one of them at The King's School. The two worst offenders are still in Sydney, one at university, the other working in the city. Schoolmates say they never talk about the bullying or "the anaconda".


Trinity headmaster Milton Cujes, who denied there was a bullying culture at the school, is still in the role despite pressure during the scandal for him to resign.
The older victim decided last year to sue the school to make them face what had happened. "He still wanted an apology from the school," his father says. "He wanted the headmaster to stand up and admit the school was wrong and that he [the victim] wasn't to blame for the scandal brought on the school."


His son was so furious at the stonewalling by Cujes after the court hearing in 2001 that he sat down with The Sun-Herald and detailed a tradition of year 7 students being bullied. He says racist abuse of young Asian students was common, teacher supervision was so slack the bullies carried out their attacks with impunity in the dormitories during lunch breaks, despite the screams from the victims and laughter from dozens of boys cheering the bullies on. "We were all bullied in that school," he said.


But some good has emerged from the awful saga.


Adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, a spokesman for the National Coalition Against Bullying, says the Trinity scandal rang alarm bells for schools, teachers, principals and governments across the country. Urgent action had to be taken against bullying.


"Since Trinity there has been much more monitoring of bullying in schools and efforts to combat it," he says. "I have never seen schools do so many surveys of their students and be so vigorous in the drafting and implementation of anti-bullying policies as in the past four years.


"Trinity was the turning point. You would never have had the huge increase in research into bullying and the money available for anti-bullying programs if Trinity had not hit the headlines."


A string of surveys were completed. One found 16 per cent of students felt bullied at least once a week, another found 40 per cent had attacked another student in the previous 12 months.

"I give talks around Australia on bullying and headmasters everywhere say to me about Trinity: 'There but for the grace of God go I'," Carr-Gregg says.

"There has been a huge increase in litigation against schools for bullying in recent years. There is a growing militancy among parents who are refusing to lie down and take what was being meted out by many schools. For decades schools said, 'Don't worry about it, it's all part of growing up' - but they aren't taking it any more. Trinity was a catalyst, and in that way it is really good news."

He says the parents of one boy at a Sydney GPS school, who was beaten up in the playground, threatened to take the school to court and inform the media unless the school paid $500,000 compensation. "As far as I know they did [get paid]," Carr-Gregg says.

Others also went to court. In 2003, Lisa Jane Eskinazi, 21, was awarded $76,000 after she sued Melbourne's Sandringham Secondary College for the bullying she suffered as a 13-year-old. Almost every day she was called a "fat bitch", "fat slut" and "two-dollar hooker" by her classmates. When she complained, teachers told her to relax by watching the TV comedy The Nanny.

She went from an A-grade student to failure. She still suffers nightmares and depression.

Private schools have reasons to be worried about angry, litigious parents.

A 20-page paper presented at a recent legal convention by Dr Keith Tronc, A Plaintiff Lawyer's Guide To Suing Non-Government Schools, gave tips on how to take action against bullying and low academic results.

In NSW, education authorities rushed after the Trinity scandal to put in place strong anti-bullying programs. But the most forceful action began last January with the implementation of a compulsory anti-bullying program that all schools must adhere to.

In May, the Board of Studies gained the power to send inspectors into all private schools to ensure anti-bullying programs were in place. As a direct consequence of the Trinity scandal, private schools have to prove they are adequately managing the welfare of students.

They are now forced to document their daily business, including anti-bullying and anti-racism programs, and teacher training. Education Department inspectors can visit boarding schools to ensure they comply with building regulations and student welfare requirements set out by the Government.
Trinity has made extensive efforts to assure parents it has strong anti-bullying programs. The school's website displays a two-page anti-bullying policy.
Students are encouraged to report bullying in any form.

Those reluctant to report face to face can send confidential messages on the internal "E-Care" email system to the school's senior psychologist.
The father of the 21-year-old victim sighed last week when told of the changes. "At least that is something good to have come out of all this. I just hope no other kid goes through what my son went through


A victim of bullying in the exclusive Trinity Grammar boarding school has been awarded a legal settlement, believed to be $500,000, after the school settled out of court last week.


The bullying case made headlines four years ago after four year 10 boarders were charged with several counts of sexual assault, including using a large wooden dildo dubbed the "anaconda" that one of them made in a woodwork class.


They pleaded guilty to lesser charges of assault in the children's court and walked free on bonds. Their victim, a fellow year 10 boy, sued the school for lack of supervision, breach of duty of care and compensation for his physical and psychological injuries.


The victim, now 21, was due to present evidence when the case opened in the Supreme Court next week, but last week the school asked for mediation and settled for an undisclosed sum.


The victim did not want to talk, but his father said his son hoped he could now put the nightmare behind him.


"He just wants to put it past him and get on with his life," the father said. "He is relieved it is over. We are happy with the settlement and now want to move on."


Trinity Grammar School at Summer Hill is the largest Anglican school in NSW, with 1700 students. Fees are $17,400 a year, $33,120 for boarders.


Both sides are forbidden from discussing the settlement, but compensation experts said it could be about $500,000. The victims and bullies cannot be named for legal reasons.


A second bullying victim, who was in year 9 at the time of the assaults in 2000, was awarded a settlement in 2003 that was also believed to be as much as $500,000.


That means the bullying cost the school $1 million in payouts to the victims, on top of the damage to the school's reputation.


The case caused a furore and dozens of parents pulled their sons out of the school.


Police said in a statement of facts, tendered to the bullies' court hearing in 2001, that the year 9 victim had been assaulted more than 50 times and the year 10 victim 25 times in a "culture of bastardisation" that existed in the school's boarding house.


Headmaster MilThe victim, however, still can't manage to talk to his family about what happened at the Trinity boarding house. All his father knows is what he read in the police statement of facts tendered to Bidura Children's Court in 2001. The details included assaults with a large wooden dildo, dubbed "the anaconda" that one of the boys made in one of the school's woodwork classes.

The father has always feared that for every assault in the court documents, many more had gone unreported. "One of the worst things is that he was betrayed by boys he thought were his friends," the father said. "He was part of that group of boys who turned on him. They had come to our home as guests, but for some reason they turned on him and what they did to him . . . wooden dildos . . . for Christ's sake!"


While the names of those involved in the case have been suppressed for legal reasons, The Sun-Herald has kept in contact with several of the victims in the past four years. The younger, year 9 victim, who was 14 when he was assaulted more than 50 times, has sadly gone off the rails. He left Trinity to finish his School Certificate at a government school and says he was happy there because nobody bullied him. But recently he has been in trouble, charged with breaking into a car.


Now 18, he refuses to live with his grandmother, who raised him, and who fears he has fallen into bad company. "He is in no man's land," says his concerned grandmother.


"It [the bullying] has devastated him," she says. "He could have been a top sportsman but everything fell apart after he went to that school. The school didn't even tell us about the bullying.


"The first we knew was we got a call from the police saying he would be a witness in the case they were bringing against the year 10 boys. The school knew he had problems as both his parents died, but they didn't protect him.

"His two brothers at the school also left. The younger one was bullied by others who said he was the brother of a dobber. He left the school too."

The younger boy won an out-of-court settlement in 2003. The terms can't be disclosed but some sources say the payout was also as much as $500,000. The victim's lawyer, Ben Slade, was horrified by the student's account of the bullying. "There was an environment of fear inside the school. Every day was grounded in fear and my client suffered more than 50 assaults. It was soul destroying and psychologically, permanently damaging."

The bullies went to other schools to finish their Higher School Certificate, one of them at The King's School. The two worst offenders are still in Sydney, one at university, the other working in the city. Schoolmates say they never talk about the bullying or "the anaconda".

Trinity headmaster Milton Cujes, who denied there was a bullying culture at the school, is still in the role despite pressure during the scandal for him to resign.

The older victim decided last year to sue the school to make them face what had happened. "He still wanted an apology from the school," his father says. "He wanted the headmaster to stand up and admit the school was wrong and that he [the victim] wasn't to blame for the scandal brought on the school."

His son was so furious at the stonewalling by Cujes after the court hearing in 2001 that he sat down with The Sun-Herald and detailed a tradition of year 7 students being bullied. He says racist abuse of young Asian students was common, teacher supervision was so slack the bullies carried out their attacks with impunity in the dormitories during lunch breaks, despite the screams from the victims and laughter from dozens of boys cheering the bullies on. "We were all bullied in that school," he said.

But some good has emerged from the awful saga.

Adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, a spokesman for the National Coalition Against Bullying, says the Trinity scandal rang alarm bells for schools, teachers, principals and governments across the country. Urgent action had to be taken against bullying.

"Since Trinity there has been much more monitoring of bullying in schools and efforts to combat it," he says. "I have never seen schools do so many surveys of their students and be so vigorous in the drafting and implementation of anti-bullying policies as in the past four years.


"Trinity was the turning point. You would never have had the huge increase in research into bullying and the money available for anti-bullying programs if Trinity had not hit the headlines."


A string of surveys were completed. One found 16 per cent of students felt bullied at least once a week, another found 40 per cent had attacked another student in the previous 12 months.


"I give talks around Australia on bullying and headmasters everywhere say to me about Trinity: 'There but for the grace of God go I'," Carr-Gregg says.


"There has been a huge increase in litigation against schools for bullying in recent years. There is a growing militancy among parents who are refusing to lie down and take what was being meted out by many schools. For decades schools said, 'Don't worry about it, it's all part of growing up' - but they aren't taking it any more. Trinity was a catalyst, and in that way it is really good news."


He says the parents of one boy at a Sydney GPS school, who was beaten up in the playground, threatened to take the school to court and inform the media unless the school paid $500,000 compensation. "As far as I know they did [get paid]," Carr-Gregg says.


Others also went to court. In 2003, Lisa Jane Eskinazi, 21, was awarded $76,000 after she sued Melbourne's Sandringham Secondary College for the bullying she suffered as a 13-year-old. Almost every day she was called a "fat bitch", "fat slut" and "two-dollar hooker" by her classmates. When she complained, teachers told her to relax by watching the TV comedy The Nanny.

She went from an A-grade student to failure. She still suffers nightmares and depression.

Private schools have reasons to be worried about angry, litigious parents.
A 20-page paper presented at a recent legal convention by Dr Keith Tronc, A Plaintiff Lawyer's Guide To Suing Non-Government Schools, gave tips on how to take action against bullying and low academic results.

In NSW, education authorities rushed after the Trinity scandal to put in place strong anti-bullying programs. But the most forceful action began last January with the implementation of a compulsory anti-bullying program that all schools must adhere to.

In May, the Board of Studies gained the power to send inspectors into all private schools to ensure anti-bullying programs were in place. As a direct consequence of the Trinity scandal, private schools have to prove they are adequately managing the welfare of students.

They are now forced to document their daily business, including anti-bullying and anti-racism programs, and teacher training. Education Department inspectors can visit boarding schools to ensure they comply with building regulations and student welfare requirements set out by the Government.

Trinity has made extensive efforts to assure parents it has strong anti-bullying programs. The school's website displays a two-page anti-bullying policy.
Students are encouraged to report bullying in any form.

Those reluctant to report face to face can send confidential messages on the internal "E-Care" email system to the school's senior psychologist.

The father of the 21-year-old victim sighed last week when told of the changes. "At least that is something good to have come out of all this. I just hope no other kid goes through what my son went through



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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I go to that dump of a school they have sent me too Physchs and Counselors over many years I always backtalk with the wrongs of the Church and trying to brainwash students. I have had many test in resulting in me beating the Phychs and out smarting them. They said i had a nevous breakdown What i jiged school and they said i had a nevous breakdown. I hope the new economic downturn will KILL the school

BETE

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also i am put in a house that i hate STEPHENSON. Mr Spratt has lame joke and needs to get a life. Whats with all the old boys they need to get a life. Why the FUCK should it start at 8.25 and end at 3.40 what the hell is wrong with them.

BETE

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your a bitter unappreciative fuck. Your a fucking no body. You reckon your king shit? your just probably some little kid with a fuckin merc thinkin ull get by life of ur rents money,

get real man. cumface.

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