Sacked Punchbowl High School principal had Muslims-only plan: police

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YONI BASHAN,
The Sunday Telegraph
March 5, 2017

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/sacked-punchbowl…

THE recently sacked principal of Punchbowl Boys High School allegedly planned to only allow Muslim students into the public school.

Police said principal Chris Griffiths, a convert to Islam, had come to their attention ­because he had been alienating non-Muslim teachers with his Muslim-only plan.

He had also allegedly stifled police efforts to enter the school and monitor prayer sessions held on its grounds.

“The view was that the principal was trying to turn it into an Islamic only school,” a law enforcement official said.

“In doing so (he) was alienating non-Muslim teachers and efforts by others, like the (police) liaison officers.”

“We were concerned about him and some of his rhetoric,” said a law enforcement official, citing Mr Griffiths’ tendency to keep officers in the dark, especially about what was being taught during prayer sessions.

“It was difficult to know what was going on. We had a good relationships with that school previously.”

The official confirmed that police community liaison ­officers had been unable to ­access the school for the past 2½ years.

It is routine for police to ­attend schools and sometimes prayer sessions.

Officers said they had found Mr Griffiths’ “rhetoric” a concern, including descriptions of police officers as pigs, and his apparent alienation of some staff including female employees.

Police said access had not been a problem at other schools such as Epping Boys High School, where one student was investigated for extremist preaching and another, a former student, was arrested in relation to a terrorism plot.

Mr Griffiths was appointed principal of Punchbowl Boys High School in late 2015, taking over from Jihad Dib, who famously turned around the school’s gang-ridden image.

An investigation by the NSW Department of Education, prompted by a number of teacher complaints, culminated in Mr Griffiths’ removal last week.

One of the complaints was that female teachers were barred from taking part in ­official events.

Mr Griffiths was unable to be reached for comment.