The new principal of Sydney's Punchbowl Boys' High School has vowed to teach his students traditional Australian values of tolerance and respect, while rebuilding relationships with police.
Robert Patruno replaced Chris Griffiths and his deputy Jemmana Dennaoiu last week after they were swiftly sacked when the government’s deradicalisation program was refused at the predominately Muslim school.
His predecessor reportedly failed to implement the program and prevented police from monitoring suspected extremist students, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Female teachers were believed to be excluded from school events, which also led to the pair's sacking.
It was also reported the school's Muslim pupils were known to pressure other students to join Islamic prayer groups.
It is believed the former principal, who converted to Islam in 2014, turned a blind eye to this behavior according to the Daily Telegraph.
In his first media interview since taking the reins last week, Mr Patrono confirmed he would introduce the Stronger Communities Working Together program and also stamp out peer pressure.
The new principal also planned to tackle social isolation and expose the students to the wider community in his quest to turn around NSW's most troubled high school.
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- 'We’re going to get you': New Punchbowl principal allegedly threatened by two men
Mr Patruno addressed the shocking revelations some pupils at the boys' school were refusing to shake the hands of female teachers due to religious beliefs, and said he would change the attitudes to show women more respect.
“It all comes down to education. If there is those values in the school, I’m going to address them. I’m not going to turn my back on them," Mr Patrono said.
He said that respect would extend to strengthening the school's tarnished relationship with local police after reports Mr Griffiths called them “pigs”.
“All I know is that I need to rebuild the relationship with Bankstown police. The police haven’t been welcomed into the school,” he said.
Mr Patruno's planned shake-up has been backed by Education Minister Rob Stokes, who praised the new principal for his "amazing vision" to bring Punchbowl high school in line with Australian values.
“The reality is our public system is open to everybody and we’re required to take people from all sorts of different backgrounds," Mr Stokes said.
"The point is to provide them with the key literacy and numeracy skills that enable them to have the opportunities that we want them to have; to get jobs, to integrate into Australian society.”
The new principal's appointment has not come without hurdles. Just days into the new role, Mr Patruno was allegedly threatened by two young men outside the school on Monday, in front of two other teachers.
Police stepped up security for newly-installed principal as the Education Department labelled the treatment “appalling”.