A NSW high school principal just days into the job has been threatened with violence at a troubled school recently in the headlines for allowing Muslim students to avoid female teachers.
New Punchbowl Boys High principal Robert Patruno has allegedly been threatened by two young men, and has made a police report.
On 2GB radio on Thursday, Ray Hadley reported Patruno had been threatened by two young men -- said to not be students of the school and aged 19 or 20, according to Hadley -- amid a reported swell of support for the dumped principal. Hadley claimed Patruno had been told, "We're going to get you. We're going to f**k you up. You dog. F**k you".
Former principal Chris Griffiths was removed from his position last week after reports female staff had been excluded from official ceremonies, and a Department of Education investigation which found "a high level of staff disunity and disharmony" at the school. There were also claims Griffiths had refused to run a deradicalisation program at the school, which has a large Muslim student population.
"It's disturbing," said Mark Scott, NSW Department of Education secretary, in an interview with Hadley.
"He understands members of the school community have been concerned and upset, he wants to calm the matter down.
"From time to time you're going to get some bad behaviour, some coarse language... but at Punchbowl they're keen to get on with the teaching and learning."
Hadley claimed measures had been put in place for the new principal's protection, and while Scott would not comment on those claims, he called for calm and for the "spotlight" to turn elsewhere.
"As I have been briefed, there has been a meeting with parents the other day... the community was surprised by the decision the department made but they were reassured by the principal, a very experienced principal, been principal at a number of schools, had been head teacher at Punchbowl boys for eight years I think," Scott said.
"As the concerns and the uncertainty calm down, we expect that community will calm down. The best thing we can all do is cut them a bit of slack, stop putting the full spotlight on them and let the professionals at the school, let the principal, the deputy and the teachers get on with their work."
"I think it is an overstatement frankly to say the only people who were concerned about this change of leadership are somehow radicalised youth."
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