Trinity Grammar alumni threaten legal action, give school a Friday deadline to sack principal, council
More than one thousand disgruntled Trinity Grammar parents, students and alumni have voted to remove their principal and school council.
At an extraordinary public meeting at a packed Hawthorn Town Hall on Tuesday, the influential Old Trinity Grammarians Association threatened legal action if their demands weren't met by Friday.
The school community almost unanimously passed a no confidence motion against their principal Dr Michael Davies, with just 28 people opposing.
The alumni association has briefed lawyers, and is collecting donations for a fighting fund.
The school council and principal are facing a huge backlash over their decision to sack popular deputy principal Rohan Brown for cutting a students’ hair.
The school community also voted to immediately reinstate Mr Brown.
Parent Steve Murphy told the meeting six days of screaming headlines had damaged the school’s reputation and brand, and that the damage was self-inflicted.
“It’s about our boys and it’s about the best that we can give them,” he said.
School vice-captain Will Murphy said the school council did not have students’ best interests at heart and its position was untenable.
“They do not care about us,” he said.
“They will throw a 15-year-old boy under a bus... and allow him to be a scapegoat for their agenda.”
The aunt of the student at the centre of the haircut saga also revealed that her family had never sent a legal letter to the school. “There was no mention of assault,” she said. This contradicts statements made by school council chair Roderick Lyle.
The heated meeting came after hundreds of Trinity students staged schoolyard protests over Mr Brown's dismissal, with many ditching their green and gold blazers for casual clothes, while others wore brown armbands.
At recess and lunch, the emotional students spilled out to the oval with a megaphone and unfurled a "Bring Back Browny" banner.
"We want Browny back," the boys chanted.
They also voiced their dislike of the school council's role in the dismissal.
The ongoing disruption at the exclusive Kew school has resulted in some school-based VCE assessments being delayed until the end of the week.
Earlier on Tuesday, Tim Sharp, who sits on the Old Trinity Grammarians committee and is the organisation's former president, said headmaster Dr Michael Davies needed to stand down. He told journalists stationed outside the school that the council should also be replaced.
He said Mr Brown was the 152nd staff member to have been moved on in the past four years under Dr Davies.
"We felt that we needed to act, that the school was just heading in such a poor direction that we needed to resort to this quite extraordinary ploy,” he said.
He said he was concerned about the boys, the school's reputation and staff.
The stoush is about a lot more than a haircut. It's a power struggle between the old and the new, and the future direction of the school.
In December, The Age revealed that the president of the Old Trinity Grammarians Association had raised concerns with the school about its new unwavering focus on ATARs, fundraising and new buildings.
Mr Brown was sacked on Thursday after he gave the student a trim so that he complied with the school's strict grooming rules, which state that hair must be above the collar.
The student's parents raised concerns about the incident, but these were later resolved. However the school said Mr Brown's actions were inconsistent with community expectations.
Former chairs of the school council, alumni, parents and students have all hit out at the decision.
On Monday, the Old Trinity Grammarians demanded the principal and school council stand down.
More than 50 former captains and vice-captains have signed an open letter declaring they had lost confidence in the school council and were unhappy with Dr Davies' leadership.
with Benjamin Preiss