This is the video dividing the community after a Melbourne principal dragging student misbehaving across the school grounds was released.
The video was taken yesterday at Manor Lakes P-12 College in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
There are claims online that the principal intervened after the child, 9, allegedly kicked a heavily pregnant teacher in the stomach. Authorities acted quickly to suspend the principal, but have not yet revealed what prompted him to act.
The video, shot by a student, shows Manor Lakes principal Steve Warner dragging the boy by his arm. It happened only two days into the new school year. You can view it yourself below.
Parents petition for his reinstatement on Change.Org:
Many reports on social media claimed the student was allegedly throwing stones and refusing to get off his skateboard. The principal allegedly grabbed his arm and pulled him away to be dealt with outside of the school playground before he injured others.
Parents are claiming that this principal has been a breath of fresh air to the school of almost 2,000 students, and has made such significant and positive changes to the school and its community.
Parents have now started a petition supporting the principal after he was suspended yesterday. It already has more than 3000 signatures. Victorian education minister James Merlino branded his actions “unacceptable”.
“Dear Mr James Merlino,
Two years ago Mr Steve Warner was appointed the role of Principal of Manor Lakes P-12. He has been an amazing influence on the school and it’s students. Steve’s dedication to his school community has been tremendous. He has turned this school around with a renewed focus on learning. He has improved discipline and behavior across the school and his management has seen many improvements in the schools facilities for students making for a fantastic environment.
The worst outcome of this situation would be for the school to lose him as the principal and leader. His work has only just started to take effect and there is only good things that could come from him continuing in his role.
We are asking that his dedicated work at the school not be in vain due to this one isolated incident.
The students and school community of Manor Lakes P-12 can not afford to lose a man so dedicated to improving the education of the approx. 2000 students.
Please reinstate Mr Steve Warner.
You can view the petition here.
The Education Department and Victoria Police are now both investigating.
“Let me be very clear, I will not tolerate this kind of completely unacceptable behaviour in our schools,” Mr Merlino said.
“There will be an independent investigation into the staff member’s conduct, and he has been immediately stood down while this investigation takes place.”
Parents support principal
Parent Michael England, who started the petition, told radio 3AW that the school community did not want Mr Warner sacked. He took over the reins at the school, which has 2000 primary and secondary students, in 2016.
“We need to put it out there that Steve is an amazing principal for our school and the stuff that he’s doing, we can’t afford to lose that. We can’t go backwards again,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.
He said he wouldn’t have an issue with his own child being treated the same way, if necessary.
“If I found out that my child had done something to deserve, if I found out my child had done something that warranted that, I would not have an issue with it at all, at all.”
Relatives say child was misbehaving
The boy’s family told the Herald Sun that the boy was causing trouble, but the principal shouldn’t have grabbed him that way.
“Yes, he was misbehaving, but he was not physically abusing any teachers,” one relative said.
“Regardless of his behaviour, he should not have been treated like this.”
This is not the first time a teacher has got in trouble for doing something controversial. In 2018 a teacher at a prestigious Victorian private school copped a blast for revealing she wanted to deliberately infect her children with measles.