Hillcrest Christian College on the Gold Coast is in turmoil.
Hillcrest Christian College on the Gold Coast is in turmoil.

College chairman sacked, principal looks to God

THE chairman of a besieged Christian college has been dumped at an annual meeting, as the school's under-fire principal admits he is "completely overwhelmed", is "seeking God's wisdom" and called on staff to pray "that the truth will be revealed".

Hillcrest Christian College at Reedy Creek on the Gold Coast  is in turmoil, with principal Jeff Davis under fire regarding bullying claims, and two senior staff members stood down.

Hillcrest Christian College principal Jeff Davis
Hillcrest Christian College principal Jeff Davis

The Independent Education Union has called for an independent investigator to look into allegations of staff bullying at the college after its chief operating officer and human resources manager were suspended.

The State Government's Non-State School Administration Board is also investigating complaints about the school's operations.

Len Oldfield, the Baptist Church-owned college board's long-standing chairman, was not re-elected at a heated annual meeting on Sunday.

Mr Davis's burly son and wife acted as security at the meeting to deny entry to people including board member and Hillcrest parent Steve Hunt.

The Courier-Mail has obtained audio of a staff meeting today where Mr Davis admitted his wife and 'big boy' of a son had stopped non-church company members from entering the meeting after it became clear it was going to be 'hijacked'.

Mr Davis, who is referred to as "executive officer", said "Christian solicitors" appointed by the college as independent investigators had advised to close the AGM.

"Those people (his wife and son) have been subjected to abuse from people who call themselves Christians…" he told staff.

Hillcrest Christian College at Reedy Creek
Hillcrest Christian College at Reedy Creek

"This is not about me protecting my job, this is about protecting process.

"I say to you time and time again, I will stick to the word of God - it's the first thing I do every day; I get up and it's how I implement what I do.

"There are people here who do not believe that.

"As the leader of this school, I will lead it in the most Godly way that I know and I will allow everyone the right to be assumed innocent.

"Unfortunately, that courtesy is not being given back."

Mr Davis was challenged at today's staff meeting about his claims that church members at the AGM had been fed "information which is false".

One staff member said: "Your son was standing at the door like a military bodyguard, refusing people to go in."

Mr Davis said the college board was now unconstitutional after the dumping of Mr Oldfield, and called on staff to continue to pray that the truth would be revealed.

In a memo to staff this afternoon, Mr Davis apologised if he had been "a little direct and harsh" at the earlier meeting, as he was operating on only two hours' sleep.

"I am completely overwhelmed by the issues that confront Hillcrest at the moment," he wrote.

"These issues are real and immediate and need to be resolved. As you know there are few helpers and I am truly seeking God's wisdom in every situation.

"Leadership is hard at these times but, as I stated at the start, there is nothing to hide."

An angry Mr Hunt tonight hit back at suggestions Mr Davis's wife and son had been abused at the AGM.

"It was unconstitutional to omit me and others from the meeting and certainly not the role of the wife and son of the principal to determine who should or should not be at the AGM," he said.

"They have no involvement in the church or the college and has no authority to do what they did to many people."