It was 2018, and Tracy Tully was only at the doctors to get a script filled when they decided to check her blood pressure while she was there.
“This can’t be right, are you a bit stressed?” the doctor asked, after seeing the sky-high reading on the screen.
“Yeah… a bit,” Tracy said with a laugh. A bit stressed was an understatement, to say the least. She’d been stressed for decades.
Not believing the number before their eyes, the doctor did the test again. He then walked out of the room and called an ambulance.
“Left unattended, I would have had a stroke,” Tracy told Mamamia. “The heart specialist said to me, ‘we see this all the time in the education department. You need to resign now or it will kill you’.”
After 38 years as a Queensland principal, Tracy did just that.
WATCH: Half of Australian principals have been threatened with violence. Post continues after video.
She’d spent her career working in tough state schools – both primary and secondary – in regional and rural Queensland, and as the 59-year-old tells Mamamia, “There’s nothing I haven’t seen at a school.”
Research released this week from the Australian Catholic University and Deakin University found that one in three Australian principals have experienced physical violence and threats from parents and students.
This comes as no surprise to Tracy. She’s lived it.
“It has been so bad that I couldn’t go to the local pub, I had a savage dog chained to the base of my stairs, and I owned a gun,” she said.
“There’s nothing I haven’t heard in terms of bullying, threats, pedophilia, fetishes, suicides, murder, corruption, extreme violence… it’s damaging and a lot of principals won’t talk about it even years later purely because they don’t want to relive it psychologically.”