A statement from principal Dr Mark Merry this morning confirmed the school’s response, with two other students involved in the incident to a lesser extent now facing further disciplinary action.

Shared on popular messaging app Discord, the document assigned girls’ photos into the categories of “wifeys”, “cuties”, “mid”, “object”, “get out” and lastly, “unrapable”.

Merry called the online post “cruel and highly offensive”, noting it had “caused great hurt” to those students targeted, as well as their family and friends.

“I am saddened that the actions of a few individuals can cause so much harm as social media has the power to amplify the damage that can be done and the anguish inflicted,” he wrote.

The school was alerted to the post last Wednesday, and launched a “complex and time consuming” investigation into the matter, Merry reported.

“As a result of these investigations, yesterday I formed the view that the position of two students at Yarra has become untenable and as a consequence they will not be returning to the school,” he said.

The leader said the Yarra Valley school community was characterised by respectful relationships “most of the time”, and that it was clear that more work needed to be done.

“Whilst we conduct regular sessions on respectful relationships and model care and respect in all that we do; this has not been enough,” Merry wrote.

“We will be reviewing all of our programmes to ensure that the dignity of all is respected. This needs to be a learning moment for all of us.”

Reports of sexist and anti-social views amongst Australian boys have been escalating recently, with researchers pointing to the online influence of notorious ‘manfluencers’, such as Andrew Tate.

Last week EducationHQ covered further disturbing evidence of Tate’s impact on boys in the classroom, with one South Australian study finding female teachers are the target of misogynist slurs and intimidation, often out of sight of their male colleagues.

Boys describing women as ‘rapeable’ and using derogatory terms such as ‘slut’ emerged from the research, with some teachers saying boys were making offensive animal noises and rude gestures towards girls and female staff, the study found.

In relation to the Yarra Valley incident, Merry argued that while it signalled there had been an issue with respect at the school, to frame this as a “Yarra problem” would be “missing the point”.

“…Sexism and misogyny are ever present in our society and it is the responsibility of all of us; families, teachers, the media, workmates and friends to stand up and make it clear that it is not acceptable anywhere.”

Meanwhile, advocacy group Bloom-Ed this week called for changes to the national curriculum to bolster the nation’s efforts to reduce sexual and gender-based violence.

Bloom-Ed founder Dr Jacqui Hendriks, from Curtin University, said the curriculum around relationships and sexual wellbeing was currently “so vaguely written in parts, that you can wholly avoid critical issues and still align with national guidance”.

Among a raft of proposed changes, the group propose lessons in relationships and sexuality should be mandated at Years 11 and 12.

“This is precisely the time when these important conversations need to continue,” Hendriks contended. 

National Domestic Violence Service: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)