Male students suspended after sharing sexualised ranking of female classmates

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday
Teenage boys need to be taught greater respect for women and girls, says one Yarra Valley Grammar School parent.
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Four boys have been suspended from a prestigious private school in Melbourne’s east, after creating a spreadsheet that ranked their female classmates. The spreadhseet of photographs featuring female students at Yarra Valley Grammar School in Ringwood was shared on the messaging app Discord and showed the teenage girls’ appearance ranked in categories from top to bottom as ‘wifeys’, ‘cuties’, ‘mid’, ‘object’, ‘get out’ and ‘unrapeable’.

The school became aware of the material last Wednesday. By Friday, four Year 11 boys had been suspended, pending further investigation. Parents of the girls featured in the post were notified by the school.

Year 11 boys ranked female peers as ‘unrapable’

For one Yarra Valley parent who spoke to EducationDaily anonymously, the incident is “disturbing and upsetting”.

*Jane, 54, says it reminded her of sexualised intimidation that was “an everyday part of my teenage years at school” and says that, with the plethora of news about gender-based violence hitting the media headlines recently, she found this behaviour by students at a school one of her own daughters attends as “too close to home”.

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Hearing that one category referred to the young girls as ‘unrapable” is, Jane says, “especially confronting”.

“As a parent, you want to comfort your child and make them feel safe and try to explain this confusing world we’re in – but it’s honestly hard to not to feel hopeless about it all sometimes, because, it feels like, despite all the education around respect, we’re still in the same place we were decades ago. But actually, social media seems to have made it even worse,” she says.

“When I was a teenager in the 1980s, having boys talk openly about your body – including the size of your breasts – was ‘normal’, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t cause a lot of stress for all the girls who had to deal with it.”

She remembers one boy at her suburban high school “who used to do what he called ‘the frigid test’ – which involved running his middle finger down the front of your uniform, along the zip”.

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“If you pushed his hand away by the time his finger was tracing its way down the outside of your uniform, over your underwear, he called you ‘frigid’ and all the boys – and the whole school – knew about it,” Jane told EducationDaily.

Sexualised body shaming must stop – says parent

Although her own daughter at the school was not directly impacted by being featured on the spreadsheet – Jane says that knowing girls are still being sexualised and shamed by teenage boys they share classrooms and school grounds with makes her “incredibly angry”.

“My girl knows girls on that list – and they’re distraught,” says Jane.

“Teaching boys they have to treat women with respect feels like an uphill battle – and that’s a sad lesson for her to learn.”

School says it will boost respect education

Yarra Valley Grammar principal Dr Mark Merry has also made his disappointment in the suspended students clear and labelled the post about the young women at his school as “disgraceful”.

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“Respect for each other is in the DNA of this school, and so this was a shock not only to us … but it was a shock to the year level and the boys in the year level that see this as way, way out of line,” he said.

Mr Merry said he was also particularly offended by the ‘unrapable’ category on the spreadsheet.

“As a father, I find it absolutely outrageous, disgraceful, offensive. As a principal, I need to make some decisions [about] what we do about all of this,” he said.

“My first impulse and concern is about the wellbeing of the girls concerned. I want to make sure they feel assured and supported by the school.”

He said that the school will speak with police about the use of the word “unrapable” in case there has been any criminality involved.

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“We are going to be consulting the police because the language used could be an inferred threat. I don’t think it was, but we need to get further advice on that … I’m hoping it was an appalling lapse in judgment,” Mr Merry said.

The co-ed school currently has around 185 students in Year 11 – at a cost of about $30,000 a year per student.

In addition to the ‘respectful relationship’ classes the school already delivers to its students, Mr Merry said the school would work harder on teaching boys how to behave.

“We are well aware of the broader issues in relation to respecting women … we need to really do our best to ensure that young men understand their responsibilities and their boundaries of how they should behave,” he said.

For support, contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]