From class room to court room
A BITTER million-dollar legal battle between a school principal and parents who allegedly posted critical remarks on Facebook is set to expose every complaint made about the principal over four years.
Last month the District Court in Southport issued a notice of non-party disclosure demanding the Director General of the state's Education department hand over "any complaints" relating to Tamborine Mountain State High School (TMSHS) principal Tracey Brose made between 2012 and March 2016, when five parents allegedly damaged her reputation on Facebook.
The complaints could have come from students, parents, guardians or staff at TMSHS, court documents state.
The notice also demands the department hand over any investigation reports triggered by complaints made about Ms Brose, as well as enrolment numbers and the number of students who gained an OP and who did not gain an OP.
The department was given two weeks to hand over the documents, court documents state.
It was issued after lawyers acting for parent and aged care nurse Charmaine Proudlock asked the court for the disclosure as she prepares for the three-week jury trial which is set to begin on October 8.
Mrs Brose argues the online comments, viewed by 8200 people on a change.org petition and on the Tamborine Mountain Facebook page in March 2016, attacked her "integrity, honesty, fairness, and judgment, all matters critical to a teacher and especially a school principal".
The petition was aimed at collecting signatures to encourage then-education minister Kate Jones to reinstate Mrs Brose to her job as principal after she was temporarily suspended on full pay in February 2016. Mrs Brose was subsequently fully cleared and reappointed
Proudlock posted on Facebook on March 10, 2016 that "finally she is made accountable for her horrendous attitude and behaviour towards those she felt were less than herself… good riddance to bad rubbish.. she tried to destroy my daughter's future.. key word TRIED".
Proudlock admits she posted the remarks but is defending the suit on the defences of triviality and justification.
Proudlock argues Mrs brose was unlikely to sustain any harm from her Facebook post because the post only remained online for less than three days and the "ordinary reasonable reader" would have regarded the post as an opinion.
Ms Proudlock also claims her comments were justified by the allegation that Ms Brose "repeatedly refused to address the sustained bullying" by students of Ms Proudlock's daughter when she was at the school between 2012 and 2014.
The case returns to court on Friday where two other parents, Donna and Miguel Baluskas, have asked the court to let them withdraw some of their admissions, file a new defence and strike out parts of Ms Brose's claim against them because they disclose no reasonable cause of action.