Melbourne parents sue Parade College after alleged bullying stoush leads to son's expulsion

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The parents of a Melbourne student who allegedly suffered repeated bullying are suing his school's principal and governing body, after the boy was expelled due to the couple's “tone” in communications.

Key points:

  •  A Year 7 student was expelled from Parade College in September 2021 after his parents were found to have breached a code of conduct
  •  The parents claim the school and principal failed in their duty of care following alleged bullying and violence
  • The family is seeking damages and the re-enrolment of their son

The Year 7 student was expelled from Catholic boys' school Parade College in September last year, after principal Andrew Kuppe determined his parents had breached the school's parent code of conduct.

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Mr Kuppe claimed the parents of the student had made “numerous derogatory comments about members of the College's Leadership team”, and the relationship was “no longer feasible”.

In a statement of claim filed to Victoria's Supreme Court, the student's parents said the school's governing body Edmund Rice Education Australia and Mr Kuppe failed in their duty of care to the boy, who allegedly experienced a string of physically violent bullying incidents.

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The family claim their son was kicked, repeatedly placed in a chokehold and had a knife pulled on him by an older student.

The documents cite 18 reported incidents involving the alleged bully directed at both the student and other classmates between February to August 2021.

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In one alleged incident during class, the alleged bully grabbed the Year 7 student and placed him in a headlock for at least seven seconds, before pushing him out of his seat and hitting him in the head more than a dozen times.

The documents said a teacher was present and witnessed the alleged assault.

Melbourne parents sue parade college after alleged bullying stoush leads to son's expulsion

Parade College said in a letter that the relationship between the school and the alleged bullying victim's parents had become untenable.(Google Street View)

A separate alleged incident took place at the alleged bully's home.

The alleged bully was claimed to have pulled a knife on the then 12-year-old student and ordered him to drop a gaming controller he had brought and leave the house “or else”.

“I will drop it [the knife] on your head if you don't go through the gate,” the alleged bully said as he forced the boy out of his home at knifepoint.

The statement of claim said the incidents became so serious Victoria Police visited the college to meet with staff in August 2021, before filing an application for an intervention order against the alleged bully.

The bullied student was expelled a month before the application could be heard in court.

Parade College principal defends expulsion in letter

In a letter obtained by the ABC detailing the decision to expel the student, Mr Kuppe said the relationship between the boy's parents and the school had become “untenable”.

“It appears from the tone of your communication that you have lost trust and confidence in the College to provide the child and yourselves with a positive education experience,” the letter said.

“You have made numerous derogatory comments about members of the College's Leadership team, accusing members of 'incompetence' and 'flagrant negligence' and questioned their capability to administer the College.

“The correspondence you have sent has seriously damaged the relationship between yourselves and the College.”

As part of the claim, the family has sought damages, the re-enrolment of the bullied student and a declaration that his expulsion was invalid.

“Our clients are looking forward to the process through the judicial system,” the couple's lawyer, Mark Stanarevic from firm Matrix Legal, said.

In a statement, Parade College said it was unable to comment due to the matter being before the court, but would “defend the allegations made against it strenuously”.

“Parade College takes the welfare of all students, staff and parents extremely seriously,” a spokesperson said.

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