Mrs GR and I were both active members of the Labor Party.
On Sundays during 1998 I would often support Lesley Clark by organising groups of local Labor Party members to go out around the Barron River electorate, asking people if they had any concerns.
I was quite good at this - people would talk to me, tell me their concerns, and I would pass on this information to Lesley.
I enjoyed meeting local people and I had the feeling that we were really helping them, because Lesley often seemed to be able to get something done about their problems.
During this time I often rang Mrs GR, who was listed as a Labor Party supporter and was working as a Library teacher in 1998, to ask her to help - but Mrs GR never did agree to help with this work.
Mrs GR and I first met at the Labor party function to celebrate Lesley's election as Local Member in late 1998.
When I first arrived to work at Lynch-Mob State College in 1999, I found that Mrs GR had been made Deputy Principal of Lynch-Mob State College.
This was quite a big promotion, as Mrs GR had only been working for Education Queensland for one year.
While I was an active member of the Labor Party, Mrs GR supported me at work effectively -
A couple of weeks after I arrived at Lynch-Mob State College, Mrs GR called me into her office.
I found two Grade 6 girls already sitting in her room.
Mrs GR told me that the girls had made certain allegations concerning me.
A few moments earlier I had walked past a group of about six Grade 6 girls standing under one of the outdoor walkways.
I had stopped and said a few friendly words to the girls and then walked on.
Apparently, as walked away, I had put my hand on the arm of one of the girls!
The two girls had gone directly to Mrs GR to report my behaviour.
Because Lynch-Mob State College was a "no-touch" school.
Nobody had told me that it was a "no-touch" school.
I had never heard of such a thing.
I learned the hard way.
I said that I could not actually remember touching the girl's arm, but I accepted her word that this was what I had done.
Mrs GR asked the girl if she had felt unsafe when I touched her arm.
I waited while the girl thought the situation over.
My whole professional reputation depended on this child's answer.
Finally the girl said that no, she had not felt unsafe.
I said that I regretted upsetting her and that I would certainly be very careful not to touch a student at Lynch-Mob State College again.
Later her Grade 6 class teacher told me that the girl and her friend often played "touching" games in the class together.
And I myself watched the two girls taking turns to touch each other on the leg and saying "You touched me! - No, you touched me! - No, You touched me!" during my Indonesian lessons.
This was a really horrible experience that made it difficult for me to feel at ease with the children at Lynch-Mob State College.
The students seemed to have been trained to complain about their classroom teachers for really trivial reasons.
And this culture of encouraging trivial complaints against classroom teachers - and of not telling the teachers anything about these 'no-touch' rules - seemed to have created an unsafe working environment at the school.
It was not a pleasant start to my work at the school.
But, while I was a member of the Labor Party, Mrs GR had supported me reasonably effectively - I had been allowed to hear the student's allegation against me, and I had been allowed to respond to her allegations.
Mrs GR had not 'beaten up' the situation to cause me harm.
While I was an active member of the Labor Party.
During the early months of 1999, Mrs GR and I would often sit together at lunchtimes and discuss our Labor party activities.
We worked on a stall together at the local "show" and we joked about being the Lynch-Mob State College Branch of the Labor party.
Then Mrs GR organised a dinner for Judy Spence at the home of the Local Member.
I spoke to Judy Spence about a Body-Corporate issue.
I was not very happy with Judy Spence's response.
( She advised me to tell somebody else. )
For this and other reasons -
- the Republic was a big issue at the time, and it was presumed that if you were Labor, you were pro-republic and anti-Brit.
There was a level of Labor party hostility to the Queen and to middle-class British people, middle-class British values, etc.
This was quite upsetting to me because, having been born in England, I respected the Queen and I respected middle-class British values -
- I looked around the group of people at this event, realised that I really had nothing in common with them, and decided to become less involved with the Labor Party.
I told Mrs GR that I had decided to become less involved in the Labor party.
When I told her this, Mrs GR urged me several times to join her own branch of the Labor party.
She told me that they met in a pub, the meetings were very social, etc
But I didn't want to drive out to the beaches to sit in a noisy pub.
And I found meetings boring.
So I did not joined her branch, and Mrs GR's behaviour towards me became increasingly aggressive.
I had requested a transfer to another school in 2000 because I was worried by Mrs GR's increasing aggression.
I told the principal of my base school - White-Wash State School - that there were "problems" at Lynch-Mob State College and that I did not want to work there full-time the next year.
I did not explain the "problems" to him because I felt that it would be unprofessional.
He arranged for me to go to the District office and discuss a transfer to Brisbane with the Staffing Officer.
I wanted to move out of LOTE (teaching Indonesian) and back to ESL (English as Second Language) in which I had very good qualifications.
But the Staffing Officer told me that a transfer would be very difficult.
And Lynch-Mob State College usual principal Mr EL spoke to me twice, very charmingly, and persuaded me to stay at Lynch-Mob State College in 2000.
He assured me that he would deal with the problems at the school.
During one school lunchtime in early 2000, I was rabbitting on about Judy Spence -
- there is a possibility that I may have been rabbitting on about Judy Spence rather too much at this time -
- when Mrs GR suddnly turned on me in a very, very aggressive manner.
She told me what Judy Spence thought about the situation.
I was startled to realise that Mrs GR seemed to know exactly what Judy Spence had said to me.
I was very, very shocked to realise that my acting principal had been discussing me - and presumably the fact that I had been rabbitting on about her at school lunchtimes - with Judy Spence, a Queensland government Minister.
I was very shocked by Mrs GR's aggression.
I decided on the spot never to discuss anything to do with the Labor party with Mrs GR again.
And I never did.
When Mr EL went on leave during Term 4 2000, I felt very exposed to Mrs GR's aggression and to (what seemed to me to be) her irrational and impulsive behaviour.
Unsupervised groups of Grade 7 students had been roaming about the school, disrupting the other classes, for at least the past two terms.
During Term 3 2000 I had discussed the problem with usual principal Mr EL.
He told me that several other teachers had complained to him about the number of children who were wandering about the school, disturbing their classes.
He spoke to the staff at a staff meeting, asking teachers not to send so many students around the school on "messages".
During Term 4 2000, after usual principal EL had gone on leave, it became clear to me that the Grade 7 teachers were not actually sending these students "on messages".
The students were simply roaming about the school in unsupervised groups.
And when I arrived at the Grade 7 classrooms to take LOTE, many students were missing from some of the classrooms.
I had no real way of knowing where they were.
I did not know who was responsible for their safety.
I asked Lynch- Mob State College acting principal Mrs GR for her support in dealing with the situation.
She advised me to discuss the situation at a staff meeting on 10 November 2000.
She put it on the white-board agenda for the staff meeting.
She moved it to the top of the Staff Meeting agenda.
But Mrs GR spoke before me at the staff meeting.
Mrs GR seemed to defame me to the staff - at considerable length.
This had not been on the Staff Meeting agenda.
Mrs GR made me ill with the shock of her irrational comments to the staff concerning me.
I had never had to deal with such (seemingly) irrational and unprofessional behaviour by a school principal.
Lesley McFarlane, the Queensland Teachers Union research officer, advised me to ask for a meeting of the School Behaviour Management Committee to discuss my concerns with the school behaviour management policy.
So, as soon as I arrived at school on Monday 20 November 2000, I put my request (see details below) for a meeting with the School Behaviour Management Committee on Mrs GR's desk.
I put another copy on the acting deputy principal's desk.
The Cairns District Office Staff Welfare Officer also advised me to ask for a meeting of the School Behaviour Management Committee.
And she advised me to ask the Lynch-Mob State College QTU rep to organise another meeting - a 'mediated meeting' - with Mrs GR to discuss the breakdown in our professional relationship.
So as soon as I arrived at work on Monday 20 November 2000, I asked the school QTU Rep. if she would be willing to attend a meeting with Mrs GR.
She agreed and offered to organise the meeting herself.
I gave her a list of times when I would be free.