Ravenswood School for Girls has responded to the contentious speech made by its outgoing school captain, telling parents the matter was related to an “ongoing legal dispute”, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The chair of the school council, Mark Webb, lamented the “unfortunate” but “seemingly unavoidable” media attention that has followed a rousing end-of-year address by school captain Sarah Haynes.
In his letter, Mr Webb told parents: “It is not possible for us to comment on the specifics other than to say this relates to a disagreement about disciplinary action taken against a number of students following an incident of alleged bullying.”
Sarah Haynes used her valedictory speech to speak of the elite school’s imperfections and to express how she felt aggrieved by the circumstances surrounding her sister’s departure from the school earlier this year.
Fairfax Media reports it is believed the victim of the alleged bullying was a year 8 student at the school.
Ms Haynes suggested in her speech that she had previously been censored by school officials and that she had drafted two versions of her valedictory address: one bound for the school’s administration, and another which she planned to actually deliver.
Addressing the above concerns, Mr Webb told parents: “Ravenswood has an overriding obligation to provide a safe and respectful learning environment for every student – and all our girls have the right to feel valued. This applies not only to the way girls behave towards one another but also to allowing their freedom to express individual opinions in speeches or otherwise.”