‘Careless mistake’: Ex-student slams list

Yarra Valley Grammar School. Picture Google Maps.JPG
A former student at an elite private school where students released an “unrapeable” list. Picture: Google Maps

A former student from an elite private school where male students circulated a list ranking their female classmates has slammed the move, claiming it was not a “careless mistake”.

The list, which ranked female students at Yarra Valley Grammar school from “wifey” to “unrapeable”, created uproar this week, with more than 100 former students signing a petition calling for serious consequences.

Principal Mark Merry sent a letter to parents on Tuesday advising them that two of the students have been expelled from the school, while two others faced disciplinary action.

The list ranking students. Picture Nine.JPG
The list ranking female students at Yarra Valley Grammar School. Picture: Nine

A former student who called in to KIIS Network’s Will & Woody radio show on Tuesday described it as “terrible behaviour” and said he agrees there “needs to be consequences”.

“These young men that are getting taught, in some of the respectful relationship classes, but the language is so pointed in those categories, and this is not as if it’s a careless sort of a mistake,” Tom said.

“This is a full document with subcategories, colour coding, imported images, then arranged.”

He said the young men are old enough to drive and therefore old enough to understand the weight of their actions.

Dr Mark Merry Yarra Valley Grammar School. Picture Nine.JPG
Yarra Valley Grammar School principal Mark Merry called the list ‘digraceful’. Picture: Nine
Letter from YVGS prinicpal. Picture Supplied.JPG
Letter from Dr Merry to parents. Picture: Supplied

“We’re sort of saying in one hand that everybody can make mistakes, but we’re going to get them behind the wheel of one and a half tons of steel that can kill people and then say, look, you can take responsibility of a car, but you can’t take responsibility of a keyboard,” Tom said.

However, he did concede that the world is different today than it was when he was at school, with online personalities like Andrew Tate influencing young men’s minds.

“We’ve just got to make sure that we’re trying to do the best that we possibly can in just stamping out that stuff that we might think is inconsequential, but it’s just not acceptable,” he said.

The Yarra Valley Grammar School students were suspended on Friday after the list was posted to social media platform Discord, with the school’s principal Mark Merry calling the act “disgraceful”.

The list, which featured photos of female students and ranked them from best to worst as “wifeys”, “cuties”, “mid”, “object”, “get out” and “unrapeable”, was discovered by the school last Wednesday.

Yarra Valley Grammar School. Picture Google Maps.JPG
Two students have been expelled from the school over the incident. Picture: Google Maps

On Tuesday, the school sent out a letter to the parents of all students informing them that two of the four boys had been expelled.

“The investigation of this issue has been complex and time consuming and can’t be rushed and I thank our students and families for your patience and confidence as we ensured that all the circumstances were known,” Dr Merry said in the letter.

“As a result of these investigations, yesterday I formed the view that the position of two students at Yarra has become untenable and as a consequence they will not be returning to the School.

“Others, who have played a lesser role in this matter have been subject to further disciplinary action.”

He also acknowledged that the week has been a “difficult one for [the school] community”, particularly the female students who were featured in the list.

“A number of our students had been unfairly targeted in a cruel and highly offensive online post which caused great hurt to them and their families and distress to their friends,” he said.

Victorian Parliament
MP Georgie Purcell has called for an investigation into sexisim at all schools. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Crosling

A Victoria Police spokesperson said the matter has been reported to police and investigators will assess the information to determine if it’s a matter for police.

On Monday, a group of 118 former students organised a petition calling for the school to deliver harsher consequences to the students accused of making the list.

“The list is disgusting … I think very highly of the school and I respect that an investigation is underway, but I do expect a strong response from them,” one former female student told The Herald Sun.

“Going to a school like Yarra Valley Grammar is a privilege and that privilege can, and should, be taken away for bad behaviour.”

Just last week, Victorian MP Georgie Purcell raised the need for an investigation into sexism in schools after Monash University released new research about the rise of misogyny in the nation’s education system.

“Back when I was in high school boys were making lists ranking their female classmates’ bodies. Today these lists have morphed into something even more repugnant, and without government action our crisis of gendered violence will only continue to worsen,” Ms Purcell said in a statement.

Support is available from the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).