Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Ivanhoe Girl's Grammar School in Melbourne's leafy north a good destination for your child? Possibly, as I shall explore. But one same-sex attracted young person found that the school did everything possible to thwart her natural inclinations earlier this year when it prevented her from bringing her partner to the school formal because the partner was also female, as we learn from a story by The Age. Sixteen-year-old Hannah Williams subsequently left the school so that she could be with her girlfriend, 15-year-old Savannah Supski. They both now attend a state school.

While this disturbing scenario enhances one's faith in the public school system while also engendering in one a deep suspicion of the underlying ethics of a school, like Ivanhoe, which advertises its Christian bias, at least in part Ivanhoe has lived up to its goals, among which are the following choice items:
  • enables girls to practise independent, critical thought ...
  • enables each girl to explore and develop her own spirituality ... while affirming tolerance and appreciation of other beliefs
  • fosters responsibility ...
  • develops leadership ...
  • fosters healthy attitudes which enable girls to respect one another, develop resilience, enjoy school life and approach the future as responsible, caring citizens
Hannah's choice in this case was to stop pursuing her complaint with the state's Equal Opportunity Commission. She did this because the process was too upsetting for her, and she didn't want the issue to interfere with her studies.

The school's principal, Heather Schnagl, says she is "very upset" that Hannah feels discriminated against. There's something deeply complacent and unaware in Schnagl's stance vis-a-vis Hannah Williams and her case. Hannah says that she "had meetings with principals" to try to resolve the impasse and that her friends out of solidarity with her put up posters around the school protesting the decision but that "the teachers ripped them down". Hannah's perception is that the school was intransigent: "They kept on making up excuses," she says.

Christian organisations have recently been granted exemptions under EEO laws in Australia and it appears, from reviewing the Hannah Williams case, that Christian schools are prepared to weather further criticism in the public sphere in order to maintain the purity of their vision regarding the life choices their students make.

On the one hand, you have to applaud Ivanhoe Girl's Grammar for having produced a student with as much determination and such strong convictions as Hannah Williams. On the other, it is easy to condemn the school for being small-minded and unbending in the face of the earnest wishes of one of its own.


Anonymous said...


What a pathetic school!

Anonymous said...

This has been blown out of proportion- clearly these girls just want attention- shame.

Anonymous said...

Sadly The Age article is slanted and incorrect. The two girls are still at Ivanhoe Girls Grammar school, doing their exams. They will be leaving the school, and this incident may be the reason, however the girls were not discriminated against due to their same sex relationship. It was because one of the girls was in Year 10, and not therefore allowed to attend a Year 11 dance - otherwise it would be discriminating against all the other Year 10 students at the school who might have, or have not, same sex relationships.

Anonymous said...


Exactly itis a graet school and year 10 students are not allowed for the year 11 dance. This is a simple thing to understand, it is irrespective of the person's sexual orientation. Stop making a moutain of a mole hill. Nip it inthe bud guys. Go to school and study for god sake. Get alife of your poor hard working or not working lucky parents' money. SAME SEX OR OPPOSITE SEX RELATIONSHIPS SHOULD BE KEPT OUT OF THE SCHOOL GATE.GET AN EDUCATION,YOU TWO GIRLS, YOU WILL REGRET IT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHEN YOU ARE IN THE DOLE QUEUE.I DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR GIRL FRIENDS AND BOY FRIENDS. REMEMBER, WHEN POVERTY STRIKES LOVE WILL FLY THROUGH THE WINDOWS.