A disturbing clip of a principal dragging a young boy through a playground has sent shockwaves through a Melbourne school’s community.
The video, which was uploaded on social media yesterday, shows Steve Warner, the principal of Manor Lakes P-12 College in Wyndham Vale, southwest Melbourne, pulling the student along the ground by his arm.
Despite support for the embattled principal — who has now been stood down over the incident — coming from more than 200 parents via an online petition, the footage has been roundly slammed by other parents and education leaders.
Victoria Minister for Education James Merlino said in a statement that the footage is “appalling and concerning”.
“Let me be very clear, I will not tolerate this kind of completely unacceptable behaviour in our schools,” he said.
“There will be an independent investigation into the staff member’s conduct and he has been immediately stood down while this takes place.”
It’s understood the boy’s family has spoken with police.
They told the Herald Sunthat, while the boys had been misbehaving, he should not have been dragged.
“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.”
However, some parents have now begun a campaign to reinstate Mr Warner following the backlash.
“He has been an amazing influence on the school and it’s (sic) students,” the online petition reads. “Steve’s dedication to his school community has been tremendous.”
The organisers wrote that Mr Warner had “turned the school around”.
“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,” they wrote.
“We are asking that his dedicated work at the school not be in vain due to this one isolated incident.”
An spokeswoman for the Department of Education and Training told ABC it was aware of the video and had launched an investigation.
“All school staff are expected to uphold the department’s values, and abide by the Child Safe Standards,” the spokeswoman said.
A statement on the Manor Lakes P12 website reads: “Staff, students and community at Manor Lakes P-12 College, are expected to model our four college expectations and behaviours of showing respect, valuing our community, aiming high and being safe.”