Yarra Valley Grammar scandal: Two male students expelled for ranking female peers as former students speak out

Georgina Noack
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Yarra Valley Grammar School Principal Dr Mark Merry called the list “disgraceful”. Nine
Yarra Valley Grammar School Principal Dr Mark Merry called the list “disgraceful”. Nine Credit: NCA NewsWire

Two students from the elite Yarra Valley Grammar have been expelled over their involvement in crafting an offensive spreadsheet that ranked their female peers’ attractiveness.

Four male students were suspended after the spreadsheet which ranked female students as “wifeys”, “cuties”, and even “unrapeable”, among other derogatory terms, emerged on social media last Wednesday.

Yarra Valley Grammar reportedly held an emergency meeting with the parents of the girls named on the list on Monday, as Principal Mark Merry condemned the “disgraceful” list and promised to hold those responsible for its creation to account.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

On Tuesday, the school sent a letter to parents informing them that two of the four boys involved 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 wrote in the letter, obtained by The Nightly.

He said the others “who have played a lesser role in this matter have been subject to further disciplinary action.”

He reiterated the the primary concern was to “support and assure” the students targeted in the “cruel and highly offensive” list.

“The past week has obviously been a difficult one for our community. 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,” Dr Merry wrote.

“I am saddened that the actions of a few individuals can cause so much harm as social media has the power to amplify the damage that can be done and the anguish inflicted.”

The letter details the support offered to the 30-odd female students photographed and included in the ranking.

Dr Merry reiterated that the Yarra Valley school community is “characterised by respectful relationships most of the time”, but acknowledged that more work needed to be done to “ensure that everyone feels valued and respected here at school”.

“Whilst we conduct regular sessions on respectful relationships and model care and respect in all that we do; this has not been enough,” he said.

“We will be reviewing all of our programmes to ensure that the dignity of all is respected. This needs to be a learning moment for all of us.”

“Whilst we need to accept that this has been an issue here at the School, to characterise this as a ‘Yarra problem’ would be missing the point. Sexism and misogyny are ever present in our society and it is the responsibility of all of us; families, teachers, the media, workmates and friends to stand up and make it clear that it is not acceptable anywhere.”

It costs about $30,000 a year to send a student to Yarra Valley Grammar School.
It costs about $30,000 a year to send a student to Yarra Valley Grammar School. Credit: Supplied

Speaking to the media on Monday, Dr Merry said the use of alarming words like “unrapeable” in the list prompted the school to contact police.

A Victoria Police spokesperson confirmed the school had reported the list to authorities, and investigators would “assess the information to determine if its a matter for police”.

The principal’s letter comes as a petition signed by more than 100 former students of Yarra Valley Grammar surfaced, calling for the expulsion of all students involved in the spreadsheet.

The former students told The Herald Sun it was not the first time females at the school had been targeted by misogynistic antics, and the organiser of the petition said she would be “bitterly disappointed” if the school did not take action.

She said while she respects the school is investigating the incident, she expects a “strong response” from her alma mater.

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

“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.”

Comments

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 23-05-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 23 May 202423 May 2024

Australian Border Force burns 48 boats and captures more than 200 in illegal fishing vessel blitz.