Haircutgate ~ A Grammarian Comedy

As Throsby waded through the stream of anguish, the unfolding tragedy at Kew TGS – Trinity Grammar School’s “Haircutgate” – the hilarity of it all was past endurance.

In this leafy walled garden of Melburnian affluence, a trite playground drama delivered (to the chagrin of the dramatic arts staff) real passion, hurt, and anger with the intensity of a US school shooting, visiting unwonted emotional violence upon participants, victims, and innocent bystanders.

A conflagration of protests, sackings, resignations, mass meetings, mini royal commissions – even a Getup campaign – arose when a student was cruelly cut down before his incredulous school chums… by the vindictive scissors of a “beloved” deputy principal.

His hair was too long for the school photograph.

Before taking too great an offence at Throsby’s imputation (to use an au courant word) this is not the sniping of some sniggering public school ingrate.

Throsby is a proud graduate of one of Australia’s elite secondary schools – one founded for free public attendance several decades before those craven hives of nouveau riche offspring were, established by pious aristocrats to spite the fledgling commonwealth’s égalité. Thros’s devoted partner and lifelong BFF was a private school teacher who dealt with many an entitled little Toff.

So there.

When 30-year TGS veteran deputy head Rohan Brown chose, as he occasionally had, to trim a young scruffy’s moptop for class photo-op, his consequent sacking unleashed a tempest of pent-up indignation of such fervour it must have been unhealthily dammed within alumnus' proud chests during the entirety of the school’s wabbit subsistence by an implanted staidness of Grammarian holistic tutelage.

It was as though the nearby pending Batman federal by-election – giving all those yuppies and commoners a free public brawl – triggered the ex-students beyond their collective last straw.

The parents complained. Brown was sacked, students rebelled, public met, lawyers engaged, media swarmed. School Council members resigned, the headmaster besieged. The press reported, cruelly.

Old Trinity Grammarians Association donned button-bursting gold and green school blazers in a show of support while students swapped blazers for civvies or wore brown armbands. A rumour said that some students had no casual clothing, therefore pyjamas, believing being out of uniform (but, phew! not in bed) showed anti-establishment tendencies. Maybe that was made up.

Most unfair of all, the student, whose hair Brown cut, reportedly took schoolyard censure for getting him sacked. Not cool, lads.

Thros pondered the agreeable spectacle of these upstanding folk, salt of the upper crust, citizens of Elysium and their defiant offspring, behaving as they always wanted to. Just like public school bogans.

Former Grammarians had been grumbling for years that TGS was taking a nasty veer towards being a, well, an elite private school. A distasteful proneness to “focus on things like buildings, fundraising, marketing, ATAR excellence, Cambridge schooling program, etc.”

They also declared that the school – which charges over $30,000 fees – should not be run like a business and should continue “the holistic development of each student – spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically, socially, and morally”.

Dare one suggest this demonstrates, with painful irony, that TGS failed to prepare those guileless former students for the real world?

Read the full and lurid details of how the tragedy unfolded at The Haircut that Ate Kew Trinity Grammar 

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