Principal dives for cover as cops probe school
POLICE have launched an investigation into allegations of misuse of funds at a strife-torn elite private school.
The investigation into Hillcrest Christian College comes after months of turmoil at the Baptist Church-run school, including unproven bullying allegations against principal Jeff Davis, the suspension and exodus of senior staff and controversy over hundreds of thousands of dollars in school loans to a private company set up to commercialise a reading program.
A Queensland Police Service spokeswoman said detectives from the Gold Coast CIB were investigating allegations relating to the alleged misuse of funds raised in a report to police earlier this month.
The report is understood to have been made by a disgruntled school community member.
Police attended the college earlier this week.
Revelations of the police investigation into the college come two days after Mr Davis asked staff to "pray for the college community, the college reputation and the ongoing work of all associated with Hillcrest" earlier this week.
He messaged staff claiming he was last week "ambushed" by Nine's A Current Affair, which plans to run a story on goings-on at the college tonight on the back of a series of Courier-Mail articles.
An ACA crew is understood to have intercepted Mr Davis as he left a Varsity Lakes venue last week with a jacket over his head.
"It has become apparent that A Current Affair are planning to run a story on Hillcrest, based largely on what has been reported in the newspapers," he told staff in a circular.
"This story may run later this week and we are endeavouring to put forward responses to the rapid questions that were fired at me with three cameras pressing into my personal zone.
"As you could imagine, this was a very stressful experience and it was completely out of the blue.
"There were cameras outside the college and I was forced to stay in my office all day."
Mr Davis said the college was "sweeping the perimeter regularly" (for cameras) and urged staff not to speak to media.
The principal, who earns more than $400,000 a year, has previously strenuously denied any wrongdoing, and the college board is standing by him.
Comment was being sought from the college about the police investigation.