Students threaten protest after popular teacher sacked
A STUDENT protest over a teacher sacking has threatened to fracture a small Gladstone school.
Several alleged incidences at the school during past weeks came to a head on Tuesday morning when physical education teacher Bec Wade received a letter stating her employment at Carinity Education Gladstone had been terminated.
Carinity Education has operated in Gladstone since July 2017.
It moved into the Glenlyon Rd campus previously occupied by St Stephens Lutheran College.
The independent high school has about 80 students and accepts students from challenging backgrounds and who may have learning and behavioural difficulties.
On Wednesday morning Ms Wade and her partner Alan D'Anastasi were parked opposite the school on Glenlyon Rd waiting to talk to The Observer about the sacking.
However, the school called police after spotting Mr D'Anastasi in a car across the road.
The school was put into lockdown.
Seven police officers arrived and the pair were told to move on, which they did.
A Carinity Education spokesperson said the lockdown was "taken as a precaution to ensure the safety of students and staff".
Police arrived at the school shortly before 10am.
They had received a call from the school stating concerns about Mr D'Anastasi's presence.
Carinity Education said Mr D'Anastasi "made threats towards several staff last Friday" and "when the police were called (he) was parked outside the school and this triggered a lockdown".
Mr D'Anastasi told The Observer he had met with the school's principal and deputy last week about an incident involving Ms Wade at the school.
Mr D'Anastasi said he left the meeting unhappy with the outcome and told the pair "this is f---ing bulls--t" - a comment he said in hindsight was inappropriate.
Ms Wade started teaching at the school in March.
Her termination letter said she was "not a good fit" and "you have not displayed skills or understanding required to meet the needs of the students".
Ms Wade said she believed her sacking was the result of speaking up about several alleged incidences at the school, which had taken place over a number of weeks.
These included a student's alleged threat to "shoot up" the school, an alleged incident where a student threw a wheelie bin in Ms Wade's direction, an alleged incident where she was accidentally struck while trying to break-up a fight between students, and an alleged incident when a student threatened to "slash her head off with a machete" because she wouldn't "buy them fries from McDonald's".
Despite the alleged incidences, Ms Wade said she was popular with students at the school.
On Tuesday afternoon Ms Wade said students started a petition against her sacking and said as of Wednesday there were at least 40 signatures.
Ms Wade said some students planned to strike Wednesday morning to protest her sacking.
She said the students could not strike or protest due to the lockdown.
"I was inundated with messages from kids who had found me on Facebook and started messaging me saying 'this isn't right', 'you were the only one who stood up for us'," she said.
Ms Wade said something needed to be changed.
"We've had multiple staff meetings, multiple emails and multiple phone calls to say something needs to be done," she said.
"The kids aren't getting consequences and aren't getting punishments.
"I had the (alleged wheelie-bin incident) laughed off in my face ...
"I've had emails with someone higher than (the principal) and had a meeting to say something needs to be done.
"The staff are scared, the students are scared."
Carinity Education said it had written to Ms Wade and told her "that we take her concerns seriously and have begun an investigation".