Independent Fitzroy Community School principal Timothy Berryman has been temporarily suspended after breaking Covid lockdown health orders.
The suspension issued by the Victorian Institute of Teaching is believed to have come into effect on Wednesday after Berryman allowed students at his school to continue attending classes during the Melbourne lockdown. He has also had his teaching registration suspended in case he ‘poses a risk to children’ for trying to continue their education.
“This whole Covid era, I've campaigned very hard for children. The evidence on children and Covid has been crystal clear. They should all be in school,” said Berryman.
The Victorian Institute of Teaching will now investigate the Fitzroy Community School and its principal regarding child safety standards.
The school offers onsite and remote learning options for children. Berryman has expressed concerns about the impact of sustained remote learning on children’s mental health and academic setbacks. He felt that it was better for their overall education to allow children back into the classroom, even in defiance of state health regulations.
Across the world, it has been observed by health authorities that children have the lowest risk of serious complications from Covid – including in Australia – despite making up a large percentage of overall cases.
There have been no deaths in Australia of anyone under 10, and only one in the 10 – 19 age category across the duration of the Covid pandemic.
The Fitzroy Community School came to the attention of the Victorian government in April of 2020. At the time, Berryman said that he expected half of his 120 students to return to the classroom, prompting the Victorian Education Minister James Merlino to brand Berryman’s behaviour ‘irresponsible’.
“Imagine if every school followed this reckless decision of this one principal,” said Merlino.
A cluster of cases has been associated with the school in September, but the same can be said of many locations across Melbourne including major supermarkets.