A regional Victorian school that expelled two African students because of their hairstyles has launched its own independent review into workplace behaviour.
An independent workplace health and safety expert is carrying out an assessment at Highview College
The board chairman says a review has been launched to confirm workplace expectations are being met
Principal Melinda Skache will be on leave with the approval of the school board
Highview College in Maryborough was in the news last year when sisters Amaya and Safhira Rowe were expelled for failing to tie their box braids back.
As a result, the students’ mother took the school to the Human Rights Commission, which is still ongoing.
The ABC can reveal this week that the school has launched an independent investigation into whether the school’s workplace health and safety policies are being followed.
Director Melinda Skache took a full-pay “leave of absence” with board approval during the review process and resigned.
Highview College has not addressed questions about any link between the investigation and Ms. Scashe’s absence, nor has it confirmed the time frame the investigation will cover, other than to confirm that it expects the audit to be completed within the next three weeks.
Ms Sash has been contacted for comment.
It is at least the second time in six years that an external investigation into workplace issues has been launched at Highview College.
Worksafe responded to a bullying complaint by a school employee in 2017 and found that the school was not present. appropriate reporting and investigation processes to manage allegations of workplace bullying.
The authorities have sent a notice to improve the school.
The ABC understands Highview College subsequently conducted an independent investigation, but no further action was taken and Worksafe later deemed the school compliant.
An audit of the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Agency in 2018 identified governance deficiencies that led to the introduction of a new constitution and the implementation of a board of trustees after the previous board was dismissed.
An independent workplace health and safety expert will start this month a review of the school’s “workplace conduct, procedures and standards”.
Highview College board chair Nicola Allan said the board expects all workplace health, safety and welfare policies, procedures and behavior to be followed.
“All staff and students have the right to work and learn in a respectful, caring and safe environment,” he said in a statement.
“A review has therefore been launched to confirm whether these expectations have been met or are being met.
“The board’s request for this review was informed by a number of legal, practical and privacy concerns, with the best interests of the school community at its center.”
Ms Allan does not confirm that the Rowe sisters have a uniform disagreement and that their claims of racism form part of the review.
He said he could not give details about what the investigation will involve and who he will talk to during the process because it is confidential.
The school’s director of administration, Stuart Manderslot, will act as principal while Mrs. Cash, who has been principal since 2016, is on leave.
Highview College has approximately 430 students, according to The Good Schools Guide.
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