The principal and his deputy at a public high school in Sydney were removed after officials feared they were radicalizing their students.
The principal and deputy principal at a public boys’ high school in Sydney, Australia were removed from their positions after Education Department officials feared the administrators were breeding radicalization in their students, reported The Daily Mail.
Non-Muslim staff at the Punchbowl Boys High School reported being threatened with beheading by Muslim students who declared they supported Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), among other verbal attacks. The majority of the student body is Muslim at the school.
None of the threats were reported to the police by the principal or his deputy.
Former Principal Chris Williams converted to Islam in 2014 and ran the school for the past two and a half years. He was described as having “actively hostile” relations with the police department and refused to allow police liaison officers access to the school during his tenure. Williams also refused to cooperate with a de-radicalization program.
“Students were being told that if ‘the pigs’ stop you, to film them and refuse their directions,” said a senior police officer speaking to the Daily Telegraph.
Police also said, “The students were being led down a dangerous path by the principal. We had concerns about radicalization.”
An investigation found an “increased disengagement” of the school from the community. Specifically mentioned as a reason for the firing was the fact that the principal and his deputy, a woman named Joumana Dennaoiu, prevented women teachers from participating in school events including 12-grade graduation ceremonies.
The Daily Mail reports the school was previously known to be controlled by Middle-Eastern gangs “where violence and drug dealing were rife.” Later, the school was under the auspices of Griffith’s predecessor, Jihad Dib, when it was transformed “to a high performer with much better literacy and numeracy rates.”