Three Australian schools caught up in 'disturbing' rankings of female students

Photo of the Brentwood bathroom list inset against stock image of teenage girl being bullied by boy with a phone
Photo credit: Getty Images / 7News

Warning: This story contains content that may be triggering for some readers.  

A school in Victoria, Australia has become the third in the state this month to have been involved in disturbing "rankings" of female students.

A photo of the latest list, written on a toilet door in a girls' bathroom, ranked students based on who were the "biggest sl**s", as per 7News.   

Brentwood Secondary College, a co-educational public high school in Glen Waverley, is investigating the ranking and any students found to have participated will face "immediate disciplinary action", principal John Ballagh said in a statement.  

It follows a similar incident at the elite co-ed Yarra Valley Grammar School in the Melbourne suburb of Ringwood earlier this month, which initially resulted in the suspension of four Year 11 male students.   

The "disgraceful" list, which was shared on the instant messaging platform Discord, featured photos of female students and ranked them from best to worst as "wifeys", "cuties", "mid", "object", "get out" and "unrapeable", local media reported.  

The post was discovered by the school on Wednesday, May 1 and the pupils behind the list were suspended that Friday as part of an ongoing investigation, according to local media. It costs approximately AU$30,000 a year to send a student to the private grammar school.   

The Brentwood Secondary College list
The Brentwood Secondary College list was found on a door in the girls' bathroom. Photo credit: 7News

Speaking to 9News, principal Mark Merry described the post as both "disgraceful" and "shocking", noting: "This was a shock not only to us... but it was a shock to the year level and the boys in the year level that see this as way, way out of line."  

Based on the nature of the final category, the incident has since been reported to the police, he added.  

"As a father, I find it absolutely outrageous, disgraceful, offensive; as a principal, I need to make some decisions [about] what we do about all of this," Merry said. 

"My first impulse and concern is about the wellbeing of the girls concerned. I want to make sure they feel assured and supported by the school.   

"We are going to be consulting the police because the language used could be an inferred threat. I don't think it was, but we need to get further advice on that. I'm hoping it was an appalling lapse in judgement.  

"We are well aware of the broader issues in relation to respecting women... we need to really do our best to ensure that young men understand their responsibilities and their boundaries of how they should behave." 

Two of the boys behind the spreadsheet have since been expelled.

On Tuesday this week, McClelland Secondary College in Frankston, Victoria also revealed it was investigating a list that ranked female students, believed to have been written on a computer by a Year 10 male pupil who has since been suspended.

Speaking to 7News, the mother of one of the affected students described the spreadsheet as "disturbing".   

"I was told it's a rape and murder list," she said. "It's unbelievable - the child was only suspended for a week. If he is to return, half of the girls in Year 10 won't."  

McClelland College Year 12 student Sienna Parnacott told the outlet: "I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable if that was me. Hopefully (the school can) discipline them in the right way so they don't do it again."   

Acting principal Laura Spence told 7News that students impacted by the list are being supported and further disciplinary action may be taken when the "full facts" have been established.  

She said the incident had been raised with her by other students.  

Victoria Police told the outlet that detectives became aware of the list at McClelland Secondary College on Friday last week.

"Police have engaged with the school to assess the information and ensure students are adequately supported," a spokesperson said. "As there have not been any formal complaints at this stage, investigators are yet to determine future involvement."

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare has since addressed the Yarra Valley Grammar incident, branding it "disgusting and appalling". He said it's an indication further work needs to be done in schools to educate students on respectful relationships and consent.   

"It's a job not just for schools, but for parents and political leaders like me as well. Part of that is providing funding to schools right across the country for respectful relationship courses and consent courses," Clare said.  

"I'm signing agreements with all states and territories at the moment to do that, and that's about AU$77 million that will roll out across the country."