#childsafety | St Kevin’s acting principal John Crowley warns parents against ‘unsuitable’ private tutors

Mr Crowley said he was aware that some parents hired former members of staff or professionals within the community as private tutors.

From now on parents at the high-fee Catholic school must contact the college’s new child safety officer, James Daly, before engaging any tutor, he said.

“This process is consistent with maintaining the highest standards around child safety in our community,” Mr Crowley wrote.

Mr Daly was appointed interim child safety officer on Thursday, one of many staff changes at the school last week.

But the tone of the note has rubbed some parents up the wrong way.

One parent said he had received several text messages complaining of the “overbearing” tone and objecting to the use of the words “expectation” and “must”.

“How about ‘recommend’, or ‘strongly encourage’?” the parent said.

“He can’t tell us what to do in our own time, with our own money.”

The head of the Australian Tutoring Association, Mohan Dhall, said it was good advice to parents, but that Mr Crowley could have gone further to demonstrate his understanding of child safety.


“For example, is the facility being used by the tutor [covered by a video camera], does it take place at home and is it supervised by an adult?” Mr Dhall said.

Private tutors are required to have a working-with-children check in Victoria.

St Kevin’s college has been rocked by reports that former student Paris Street was groomed by Peter Kehoe, a volunteer athletics coach with long-term links to the college, in 2015.

Kehoe was convicted and put on the sex offenders’ register for eight years.

The college’s former headmaster, Stephen Russell, and its former dean of sports, Luke Travers, gave Kehoe  references in court. Both men left the college last week.

Mr Russell wrote to St Kevin’s parents last week, two days before he resigned, stressing that Mr Kehoe had no role with St Kevin’s and was volunteering in a private capacity when he offended in 2014.

“The 2014 offences occurred online and in a private coaching setting away from the college and of which the college was neither aware nor involved,” he wrote.

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