It seems there is more to the story behind a viral end-of-year speech delivered by the Ravenswood head girl in which she delivered a solid rebuke against her elite Sydney girls' school.
The backstory involves a bullying incident, disciplinary action and a NSW Supreme Court case in which the school captain's parents are suing the school's administration for damages.
The 13-minute speech of outgoing school captain at Ravenswood School for Girls, in Sydney's north shore, was filmed by a fellow student last year and went viral when it was posted to YouTube.
In her speech, Sarah Haynes, 18, unleashed criticism on the Uniting Church administered school, which is one of the most expensive in the city, charging annual fees of up to $28,000.
She said she felt 'let down' by the school and criticised the private school for being 'financially motivated'.
It later emerged her parents, Christopher and Robyn Haynes, had lodged court documents in the Supreme Court to sue the prestigious school over disciplinary action taken against their younger daughter over an alleged bullying incident.
In an incident in 2015, a year-eight student was allegedly stripped naked and stuffed into a cupboard, resulting in the expulsion of two students and the suspension of two other students.
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It is not clear whether the younger Hayne’s daughter, who cannot be named, was one of the students expelled or suspended in this incident, or whether she faced separate disciplinary action.
However in Ms Hayne’s speech she said her sister had left the school midway through last year. It is not known whether she was expelled or asked to leave.
The parents claim the disciplinary action taken against her was ‘inappropriate’.
“About half way through this year at a time when my family and I needed Ravo (Ravenswood) the most, it let us down,” Ms Hayne’s said in her December address.
While a section of her speech focused on her sister leaving, Ms Haynes said she was not bringing up Ravenswood's flaws as a 'personal vendetta'.
“I know there have been rumours and gossip about my sister leaving the school and I'd rather not add fuel to the fire but would prefer to say the people I trusted and respected made an unjustified, cruel and incorrect decision.
“For a large part of this year I was hurt, betrayed and very much began to hate certain things and people in this school.”
Chair of Ravenswood School Council, Mark Webb, later wrote a letter to parents saying the school could not comment about Ms Haynes' speech, as ‘this relates to a matter before the courts’.
“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," he wrote.
All 14 members of the Ravenswood School Council could be forced to front the Supreme Court to defend the disciplinary action against the younger Haynes daughter.
News break – February 16