Bad Apple Bullies

Bad Apple Bully school principals and departmental officers can bully Australian teachers into ill health - and out of work!

Matthew McDermott went to teach at Temora High School, NSW.

Pat McDermott has written a book "Resurrection" about the life and death of her younger brother -


Matthew McDermott, 28, left his family home in Mortdale Heights, New South Wales, to teach at Temora High School in the NSW Riverina.

He was asked to take part in a game of Walla Rugby, which involved a two-handed touch below waist level.

Pat says that Matthew did not want to take part in the game but he had to, to "make up the numbers".

A group of 12 to 14-year-old female students accused Matthew of sexual misconduct during the Walla Rugby game.


Pat says that an earlier complaint had been made about another male teacher after he had played the Walla Rugby game.


You may conclude that this Walla Rugby game was a very, very dangerous game for male teachers.


Students had also complained earlier that Matthew had inappropriately touched them by leaning over them while looking at their work.

Matthew had been reprimanded by the principal.

Matthew had undertaken to change his teaching style.

You may conclude that Temora High School was a very risky environment for any male teacher.


After the Walla Rugby game, Matthew McDermott was suspended.

He was given no reason for the suspension.

He was offered no counselling.

Some senior students told him about the allegations.


Matthew was alone in a small rural town. 

He had no family support.

Six days after the allegations had been made against him, Matthew suicided.


In 1997, at the end of the inquest into Matthew's death, the coroner said, "There is no doubt that the law is now firmly canted towards the child victim. I do not argue with that. There are very strong reasons for that. We must, however, never lose sight of the presumption of innocence, the requirement to prove a case to a certain standard and the concept that the allegation may not be founded in fact."


Patricia McDermott believes that we need to harness the voice of lived experience and bring it to the fore in suicide prevention.


Suicide victim's sister warns of bullying, Murray Trembath, St George & Sutherland Shire Leader, 1 July 2014

Suicide: Building support and compassion by harnessing experience, Patricia McDermott, The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 July 2014