The drawn-out saga over the sacking of Melbourne Trinity Grammar’s deputy principal for cutting a student’s hair on school photo day has ended positively after the much-loved deputy returned to work.
This ABC News report outlines the controversy.
Rohan Brown was offered his job back at the prestigious private school after a review found his dismissal was not justified.
Struggling to hold back tears, Mr Brown said he was sorry for the upset caused.
“We make mistakes, and I’ve made one. But it’s a terrific school and there’s a bit of me here, [and] there’s a bit of the school in me,” he said.
“I accept the apology from the school, but I also owe the school an apology as well.”I’m so pleased to be back and hopefully that will make the school a stronger place, and a more resilient place.”
The school council decided in early March to fire Mr Brown for “contravening disciplinary procedures” after he trimmed a boy’s hair on school photo day.
The sacking triggered mass protests by students calling for “Browny” to be reinstated, a vote of no confidence in headmaster Dr Michael Davies and school council, and a statement from the 2017 school captains calling for Dr Davies to resign.
In one instance, a truck mounted with LED screens circled the school at pick-up time showing messages calling for the headmaster and the council to resign.
Fifty former Trinity Grammar school captains and vice-captains from the past 17 years also signed an open letter protesting against Mr Brown’s dismissal and stating they no longer had confidence in the school’s executive leadership.
The former student leaders were critical of what they called “the change in culture and direction of the school in recent years”.
“It is apparent that under the current leadership, Trinity no longer promotes the qualities that we knew and loved,” the open letter to Dr Davies and Mr Lyle stated.
The letter denounced what was described as “a dramatic shift from Trinity’s position as a non-selective, non-elite school dedicated to holistic personal development, to an institution focused on ‘exceptional’ performance defined by ATAR excellence, growth and profit”.
The letter said the former captains were “immensely proud” of everything Mr Brown had done for the school and expressed concern about the new review into governance, saying it was “unnecessary and will not serve the interests of the school community”.
A week after the sacking, headmaster Michael Davies announced the school would hold an independent review into the dismissal.
Dr Davies said the school was “thrilled” to have Mr Brown back.
“Personally I look forward to working with Mr Brown and the rest of our colleagues to make sure that our focus remains with the wellbeing and education of our boys.”
Asked if he would be “hanging up his scissors”, Mr Brown said: “The obvious answer is yes.
“The boy whose hair was cut came through before and he looks magnificent,” he added with a laugh.
Report by ABC NEWS