Hundreds Of Parents Back Principal Who Dragged Student By The Arm
More than 700 parents have signed a petition calling for a Melbourne principal to be reinstated after a video emerged of him dragging a primary school-aged pupil along the ground.
Steve Warner, the principal of Manor Lakes College in Wyndham Vale, has been stood down pending an investigation.
"Police are investigating after a report was made regarding the treatment of a student at a school in Wyndham Vale on [Thursday] January 31," a police spokeswoman said.
"It is yet to be determined if the nine-year-old boy was injured during the incident. The exact circumstances are being investigated."
It is understood the footage was captured on Snapchat by another student and then shared on social media.
A petition to reinstate Warner as principal, created by Manor Lakes parent Mark England, had garnered more than 700 signatures just before 11am on Friday.
The school is P-Year 12 and has approximately 2,000 students. Warner started at Manor Lakes at the end of 2016.
The hashtag #standbysteve is also gaining momentum on Facebook.
"The kid was not even dragged on the floor he was on a mini skateboard...look closely at the picture," parent Michele Sacco --whose child attends the school -- said.
Another school parent, Mark England, who started the petition, has directed it to the Victorian Education Minister James Merlino.
"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," the petition reads.
"We are asking that his dedicated work at the school not be in vain due to this one isolated incident. "
Merlino has weighed in labelling the video "appalling and concerning."
"Let me be very clear, I will not tolerate this kind of completely unacceptable behaviour in our schools," he said in a statement.
"There will be an independent investigation into the staff member's conduct, and he has been immediately stood down while this takes place."
The mother of a student who allegedly was in the same classroom as the boy in the footage, explained what her child witnessed.
"The child was asked to participate in classroom activities (multiple times he was asked to join in). He said he didn’t want to.
"He was told if you don’t, you will go to the principal's office. He said he wasn’t going. He started yelling and carrying on. And kicking stuff into the walls damaging them," she wrote.
The education department's policy on restraint says staff members may "take any reasonable action that is immediately required to restrain a student … from acts or behaviour that is dangerous to the member of staff, the student, or any other person".