Two boys expelled over ‘vile’ list

Yarra Valley Grammar School. Picture Google Maps.JPG
Former students of Yarra Valley Grammar School have signed a petition to have students expelled over a disgusting list. Picture: Google Maps

Two of the four boys who allegedly produced a list ranking their female peers from “wifey” to “unrapeable” have been expelled.

The Yarra Valley Grammar School students were suspended on Friday after the list was posted to social media platform Discord, with the school’s principal Mark Merry calling the act “disgraceful”.

The list, which featured photos of female students and ranked them from best to worst as “wifeys”, “cuties”, “mid”, “object”, “get out” and “unrapeable”, was discovered by the school last Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the school sent out a letter to the parents of all students informing them that two of the four boys had been expelled.

“The investigation of this issue has been complex and time consuming and can’t be rushed and I thank our students and families for your patience and confidence as we ensured that all the circumstances were known,” Dr Merry said in the letter.

Dr Mark Merry Yarra Valley Grammar School. Picture Nine.JPG
Yarra Valley Grammar School principal Mark Merry called the list ‘disgraceful’. Picture: Nine

“As a result of these investigations, yesterday I formed the view that the position of two students at Yarra has become untenable and as a consequence they will not be returning to the School.

“Others, who have played a lesser role in this matter have been subject to further disciplinary action.”

He also acknowledged that the week has been a “difficult one for [the school] community”, particularly the female students who were featured in the list.

“A number of our students had been unfairly targeted in a cruel and highly offensive online post which caused great hurt to them and their families and distress to their friends,” he said.

The list ranking students. Picture Nine.JPG
The list ranking female students shared to Discord. Picture: Nine

A Victoria Police spokesperson said the matter has been reported to police and investigators will assess the information to determine if it’s a matter for police.

On Monday, a group of 118 former students organised a petition calling for the school to deliver harsher consequences to the students accused of making the list.

“The list is disgusting … I think very highly of the school and I respect that an investigation is underway, but I do expect a strong response from them,” one former female student told The Herald Sun.

“Going to a school like Yarra Valley Grammar is a privilege and that privilege can, and should, be taken away for bad behaviour.

Yarra Valley Grammar School. Picture Google Maps.JPG
Yarra Valley Grammar School. Picture: Google Maps

“If you send a message that you suspend these students and make them go into counselling but then they go back into the classroom … it sends a message that these boys’ education is more important than these poor girls involved.”

Dr Merry spoke to Nine on Sunday and described the post as “disgraceful”.

“Respect for each other is in the DNA of this school, and so this was a shock not only to us … but it was a shock to the year level and the boys in the year level that see this as way, way out of line,” he said.

He said he was offended by the final category and had since reported the matter to police to ensure the list wasn’t linked to any criminal offence.

Letter from YVGS prinicpal. Picture Supplied.JPG
Letter from Dr Merry to parents. Picture: Supplied

“As a father, I find it absolutely outrageous, disgraceful, offensive. As a principal, I need to make some decisions (about) what we do about all of this,” he said.

“My first impulse and concern is about the wellbeing of the girls concerned. I want to make sure they feel assured and supported by the school.”

“We are going to be consulting the police because the language used could be an inferred threat.

“I don’t think it was, but we need to get further advice on that … I’m hoping it was an appalling lapse in judgment.”

It costs about $30,000 a year to send a student to the elite Ringwood private school, and Dr Merry said the school prided itself on teaching “respectful relationships”.

“We are well aware of the broader issues in relation to respecting women … we need to really do our best to ensure that young men understand their responsibilities and their boundaries of how they should behave,” he said.

Victorian Parliament
MP Georgie Purcell of the Animal Justice Party has called for an investigation into sexism in schools. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling

Just last week, Victorian MP Georgie Purcell raised the need for an investigation into sexism in schools after Monash University released new research about the rise of misogyny in the nation’s education system.

“Back when I was in high school boys were making lists ranking their female classmates’ bodies. Today these lists have morphed into something even more repugnant, and without government action our crisis of gendered violence will only continue to worsen,” Ms Purcell said in a statement.

She warned the expulsion of the students would not solve the problem but “simply move it to a different school”, and said more needs to be done to combat gendered violence.

“There needs to be serious commitments from the school to enact mandatory consent and gendered violence education for not only those male students, but the whole cohort,” she said.

“We must recognise this as gendered violence, and schools as a breeding ground for serious crimes against women if there is no intervention.”

Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).