Sunshine Beach State School Principal Jennifer Easey has gone on leave. Picture: AAP image, John Gass
Sunshine Beach State School Principal Jennifer Easey has gone on leave. Picture: AAP image, John Gass

‘Bully’ school principal goes on leave

A QUEENSLAND school principal sensationally accused in court documents of lying in order to deny "problem children" access to her public school, and labelled a bully who "destroyed" young teachers, has taken leave from her job, according to an announcement by the Education department.

Principal accused of bullying, lying to deny 'problem children' access to public school

Jennifer Easey, principal of Sunshine Beach State School, is on leave for an unspecified time, with no return date set and no reason given for her departure.

In his announcement sent to parents on Monday afternoon the regional director of the Education department's North Coast Region, Liam Smith, said he was "unable to go into any details for privacy reasons".

"Unfortunately, at this time I am unable to provide you with a specific time frame about these acting arrangements," Dr Smith told parents from SBSS.

"This is to advise you that the Principal of Sunshine Beach State School, Ms Jennifer Easey, has commenced a period of leave," he wrote.

"I have asked Mrs Alison Welch, a highly experienced Principal, to act as Principal during this time, and she has kindly agreed."

"For the past two years, Mrs Welch has been working as Lead Principal within the North Coast Region and prior to that, she was the Principal of Kuluin State School in Maroochydore."

"Can I please ask that the school community supports Mrs Welch as she and the wonderful staff of Sunshine Beach continue to focus closely on providing a positive and productive learning environment.

"Their priority continues to be around delivering the best education possible to their students, your children.

Teacher Adam Bruin.
Teacher Adam Bruin.

The Sunday Mail revealed scathing allegations made about Ms Easey's conduct of principal made in court last month.

They were aired in court documents in the ­extraordinary fallout from the death of a much-loved teacher, Adam Bruin.

Ms Easey was described as "unethical" and "a bully" by fellow teachers and school leaders, who were interviewed as part of an independent investigation by a law firm into 14 "very serious" allegations of "inappropriate" workplace behaviour.

The investigation was triggered by a formal complaint lodged with ethical standards following the suicide of Mr Bruin, aged 37, in November 2017.

It includes an allegation that Ms Easey "humiliated and offended" Mr Bruin when she "laughed in" his face when he reported that his neurosurgeon said he would be back to work a few months" after brain surgery in 2014, a claim she denied.

In the transcript of her interview with the investigators, which also forms part of the court file, Ms Easey vehemently denies that she bullied the teacher.

According to the court documents, she said Mr Bruin was "a sick man" with mental-health problems who was going through a messy family break-up in the wake of his brain surgery.

The lengthy and complex internal education department investigation into Ms Easey's management style has exposed deep divisions within the tight-knit school and community of picturesque Sunshine Beach, north of Brisbane.