King’s School Headmaster Tony George reacts to Goanna’s death

He ended the note with “RIP Varanus varius,” the scientific name for spike monitor or tree monitor.

King’s, Australia’s oldest independent school, has been running the cadet camp for more than a century. The event offers students the opportunity to “test their skills, build resilience and develop their leadership skills in an environment full of challenges and adventure”.

George said the school immediately reported the goanna’s death to police, but noted that “these types of incidents are rarely simple or straightforward.”

“On the contrary, they are often complex and complicated. As the school seeks to fairly, sanely, and thoroughly understand what happened and how it can support the students and their families through the process, including any disciplinary or remedial action needed, the tabloids and virtuous trolls quickly build a cacophony of public embarrassment the clear assumption that it is bad people who do bad things,” he wrote.

“If only the human condition were that simple. The real tragedy is that it is often good people who do bad things.”


In another section of the letter, George cited attachment theory and said a child’s “relational attachment style” emerged at age 2.

“Pathological insecurity has subsequently been linked to bullying, self-harm, anxiety, domestic violence and animal cruelty, along with a whole range of other psychological, social and behavioral problems,” he said.

“It is also important to note that schools do not cause bullying, self-harm or other inappropriate behavior in children.”

King’s, which charges up to $42,000 for 12th graders, says the cadet corps is a mandatory activity for boys in grades 9 and 10 and is optional for students in grades 11 and 12.

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Justin Scaccy

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