19 Sydney schools have been identified as being at risk from radicalised recruiters seeking to exploit vulnerable students.
On Friday, it was revealed that the 19 schools are currently undergoing the NSW Government’s Schools Working Together Program to stamp out anti-social behaviour and encourage a greater atmosphere of inclusiveness.
It is understood that all 19 schools are located in western and southwestern Sydney. One of them, Punchbowl Boys High School, was recently in the media spotlight over threats made against its new principal.
The incident, which took place at the school on Monday morning, took place after two men, aged between 19-20, told Patruno: “We’re going to get you…we’re going to f*** you up, you dog – f*** you.”
In an interview with 2GB Radio’s Ray Hadley on Thursday morning, NSW Education Department Secretary, Mark Scott, said that the Department was aware of this threat, and encouraged Patruno to report the incident to the police.
“Clearly, there has been some upheaval at that school. The principal and the deputy have moved on, which came as a surprise to the community, and people were upset,” Scott said.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, some parents of Punchbowl Boys High School have complained that their children have felt “pressured” into daily prayer meetings, Koranic lectures and even cutting their hair by other Muslim students.
Two weeks ago, it was alleged that Patruno’s predecessor, principal, Chris Griffiths and his deputy, Joumana Dennaoiu, had barred female teachers from taking part in official events at the Muslim-majority school, located in Sydney.
It was also alleged that Griffiths refused to implement an anti-radicalisation program at the school.
A spokesperson from the NSW Department of Education told The Educator that in order to “maintain effective operations and protect the privacy of students”, it could not identify the schools participating in the programs.