Four Corners: Feb 17

On Monday’s Four Corners, Louise Milligan reports on “Boys Club” and a culture which allegedly thrives within St. Kevin’s College in Toorak.

“As soon as you put the blazer on you feel like you belong somewhere and you’re part of something. I think that’s what makes it so appealing.” Class of 2017 student

The glossy brochures and slick websites of private schools promise nothing less than the best. In return for tens of thousands of dollars in fees, these schools pledge to turn out fine young men and women. Given the investment parents make, protecting a school’s good name is vital.

“Because it has to keep these promises that it offers to parents about good grades and good performance and strong students, reputation is everything at a place like this.” Class of 2016 student

St Kevin’s College in Melbourne’s Toorak is one of these schools. Established by the Christian Brothers as a young gentlemen’s college for Catholic boys, it has an enviable reputation for academic excellence.

“St Kevin’s promotes a belief that you’re very privileged and lucky to have your son go there.” Parent

Last year, St Kevin’s found itself in the middle of a public relations nightmare when a video emerged of “Skevies” boys shouting out an offensive chant on a public tram. It provoked a wave of outrage, but there was also fierce anger from some St Kevin’s students directed towards those who spoke out against the school.

“They perceive any attack on St Kevin’s to be an attack on them personally…they’ve been indoctrinated with the fact that they went to St Kevin’s, that that should be a key part of their identity. Whenever that part of their identity is attacked, they respond to it really aggressively.” Class of 2016 student

The school says it “challenges its young men to become the saints and scholars of the modern era”. But a Four Corners investigation has uncovered other incidents that point to a systemic problem.

“I was appalled. Absolutely appalled. This could have been my son, you know, could have been anybody’s son.” Parent

Despite the school’s insistence that it does not tolerate bad behaviour, Four Corners has uncovered evidence of how a desire to protect reputation at all costs has allowed a toxic culture to flourish.

“This conversation is really hard to have. And this story will hurt people. But we have to go through that pain in order for there to be change.” Class of 2016 student

Monday 17th February at 8.30pm on ABC.

One Comment:

  1. Being a Melbournian somewhat familiar with this school & also having had male relatives who’ve attended private boys schools over the years it seems to me to be a bit unfair to highlight only one St Kevin’s in this report. There are similar incidents reported in the media either surrounding sexism or a general elitist culture in these schools going back many years, there are even more incidents only rumoured but never having gone public as such. From what i know most of these schools have & will try & cover up rather than make meaningful change, but hopefully there will be a cultural change as parents & the community demand better.

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