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Elite boys school was a hotbed of ‘daily sustained violent homophobia’ and ‘hyper masculine’ bullying, ex-students claim

Emma Powys Maurice September 25, 2020
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Shore School bullying

A "hyper masculine" culture of bullying was exposed at the elite school (shore.nsw.edu.au)

The toxic culture of homophobic bullying in one of Australia’s most exclusive schools has been laid bare after students’ “muck up day” plans were leaked to the public.

Sydney’s Shore School went into damage control on Tuesday (September 22) when it emerged that their year 12 students had devised a sickening scavenger hunt for their final day in school.

Titled the “Triwizard Shorenament”, it challenged students to a range of activities, such as spitting on a homeless man, assaulting strangers and performing humiliating sex acts.

The headmaster of the $33,000-a-year private boys’ school condemned the group and claimed they “do not reflect Shore’s values or what the school stands for”, prompting a number of former students to come forward claiming otherwise.

Matt Godden told Daily Mail Australia that a “hyper masculine” bullying culture with “elitist” values has been brewing at the school for years, with teachers allowing homophobia to go undetected.

“There was verbal abuse, pushing, shoving, messing up, or grabbing and pulling around by the hair,” he said. “Things that might seem inconsequential, that if you were to complain might be dismissed with some platitude about hardening up, or standing up for yourself.

“The teachers’ attitudes, were, in my opinion, contributors to it.”

Gay teachers ‘said nothing’ about the bullying, former student claims.

Godden said one boy regularly pulled him by the hair and threw him to the ground and shoved him against the wall. After a particularly bad beating, the bully was given a single detention as punishment.

“Gay teachers had said nothing, had watched the abuse, and done nothing, for fear of their own careers,” he tweeted. “I wasn’t even gay, but I experienced three years of daily, sustained violent homophobia.”

Godden’s experience is supported by the account of another former student, Rob Sturrock, who attended the school from year three to year 12.

Speaking to News.com.au, Sturrock also identified a “hyper masculine” culture and said it had taken him years to fully understand the unconscious biases he developed.

“I am someone who is opposed to how the school is run. Its culture is toxic. I would absolutely never send my son there,” he said.

“When I was there, there wasn’t a great education or really any education around gender equality and sexism or even how to engage with the opposite sex in a healthy and respectful way.

“This is what is going to happen when you have all these boys and you tell them they are the best and then shield them from the discussion of equality.

“You then get these views and beliefs that are so out of date and offensive and it’s what those boys pick up from the school.”

 

 

Related topics: Australia, bullying, homophobia in schools, Sydney

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