News People Private school issues apology after students’ sexist chant on tram

Private school issues apology after students’ sexist chant on tram

st kevins offensive tram
Students from St Kevin's College apologised after the offensive song on a Melbourne tram. Photo: ABC
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The headmaster of a Melbourne private school has written a scathing letter to parents saying he is “upset, frustrated and angry” by students who performed a sexist chant on a tram.

St Kevin’s College in Toorak made a public apology on Monday, after footage of dozens of students singing an “offensive” and “misogynistic” chant was obtained by the ABC.

The footage was recorded by a female passenger who was on the same tram as the students, who were heading to an inter-school athletics carnival on Saturday.

The chant includes the lines:

I wish that all the ladies

Were holes in the road

And if I was a dump truck

I’d fill them with my load

In his letter to parents, headmaster Stephen F. Russell said year 10 and year 11 boys were mainly to blame.

“To say I am upset, frustrated and angry would be fair,” he wrote.

“As a husband, a father of daughters, a brother of four sisters, a son and, I hope, a good friend and a decent colleague to many women, I know this behaviour cannot go unchallenged.”

Mr Russell said the school had specific programs to “shape our boys’ behaviour and attitudes about respectful relationships.”

“The college and families need to continue to work together to expand on and improve our work in this area,” he wrote.

“I will not let this matter lie.”

Mr Russell said an investigation commenced yesterday and the school was “well underway” to understanding the extent of the boys’ behaviour.

It comes as year 12 students at the school prepare for their valedictory program, which begins today, ahead of final VCE exams that start next week.

In a public apology on Monday, Mr Russell condemned the students involved in the incident and said disciplinary action had been taken.

st kevins offensive song tram
St Kevin’s principal Stephen F. Russell has written to parents after the incident. Photo: ABC

Sexist chant performed at uni colleges

The same chant was regularly performed in the notorious Bay 13 section of the Melbourne Cricket Ground during cricket games, and the ABC has been contacted by several people who have heard it at university college gatherings.

In 2016, the president of the University of New South Wales, Baxter College, denounced his own involvement in performing the chant on a “boys’ night out”.

“It has been ingrained in many college societies for too long that those things can be gotten away with,” James Dunn said at the time.

The university said it was “appalled by the sexist and demeaning attitudes and behaviours” directed towards females in the chant, which included lyrics that were attacked for glorifying rape.