By Casey Neill
A Springvale school suspended four students over a bathroom bullying incident live-streamed on Facebook.
Killester College principal Leanne Di Stefano published a letter to parents on the Catholic girls school’s Facebook page on Wednesday 23 August “to inform them of an incident” that occurred the previous day.
“Misinformation has gone out suggesting that girls were barricaded by a mob of 50 students in the toilets,” she said.
Ms Di Stefano clarified that two small groups of Year 12 girls clashed on social media over the weekend and on Monday night, two girls organised a meeting with their year level co-ordinator.
“When the girls arrived at school they decided to wait in the Year 12 toilets until the co-ordinator came to her office,” she said.
But the four other students involved realised the girls were in the toilets and went to confront them.
“Disappointingly, about 15 other Year 12 girls decided to go into the toilets to watch, one of whom decided to live stream the incident,” Ms Di Stefano said.
She said the crowd dispersed after a few minutes and the two girls under siege walked to the administration building with a staff member.
“We are very disappointed by the behaviour of the girls who were involved in the incident,” she said.
Ms Di Stefano said a number of girls were on suspension while the school worked through the issues with them and their parents.
“Furthermore, we are disappointed by the girls who, as bystanders, failed to recognise how their behaviour contributed to the tension of the situation,” she said.
“We always tell the girls that they have a right to feel safe, happy and learn.
“Yesterday these rights were breached and two students did not feel safe.”
She said no school was immune to problems brought in by inappropriate social media use.
“Cyber and personal safety are issues that we address at school and regularly revisit,” Ms Di Stefano said.
“We acknowledge that sometimes there will be a need to educate our young people about correct behaviour and how we live out our values.
“Yesterday’s behaviour was absolutely unacceptable but it will be worked through with the students and their families.”