'Anti-vax' WA principal's school threat

WA Education minister Sue Ellery says a school principal's anti-vax stance is
WA Education minister Sue Ellery says a school principal's anti-vax stance is "unconscionable".

A West Australian principal is under fire over allegations he threatened to close his private school rather than receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

Education Minister Sue Ellery says the claims relating to Divine Mercy College and its principal Adam Zydek are "deeply disturbing" and has urged the independent school's board to step in and resolve the issue immediately.

Mr Zydek this week summoned staff to a meeting where he handed out anti-vaccination literature, the West Australian newspaper reported.

He has reportedly sought legal advice about closing the school because all WA teachers and staff are required to be vaccinated by term one next year.

The school in Yangebup, south of Perth, has about 400 students and 50 staff.

"This is a school principal who holds a position of privilege and power, effectively abusing that position with his own personal views against the public health advice," Ms Ellery told reporters on Thursday.

"We are in a pandemic and we need all leaders, including school leaders, to follow the law, follow the advice, don't frighten people, get vaccinated."

Ms Ellery said while Divine Mercy College branded itself as a Catholic school, it did not fall under the remit of Catholic Education WA.

The majority of its funding as an independent school comes from the federal government.

Ms Ellery has sought advice on whether Mr Zydek's "unconscionable" conduct has breached teacher registration standards.

"If you were a parent with a child at that school you would be thinking about whether or not you needed to move your child somewhere else," she said.

"He has frightened his staff by threatening their jobs and he has frightened the school community and parents by suggesting to them their children will not be able to continue at this school.

"I am expecting that the board today will express a view to that principal and I am expecting that the board today will fix this problem."

Independent Education Union WA branch secretary Rebecca Collopy said staff at the school were anxious about the principal's threats.

"He's causing a lot of unnecessary stress and angst for people that don't need it ... we'd actually call on the governing body to remove him as a principal," she told Perth radio 6PR.

Anti-vaccination protesters have begun targeting schools across the state, as well as children being transported to clinics to receive their jabs.

Premier Mark McGowan, who has been forced to close his electorate office after he and his staff received death threats, said anti-vaxxers were "embarrassing themselves" and their resistance wouldn't change the government's stance.

"In fact, it's making us harden our position. The more they do this, the more we're going to ensure that West Australians get vaccinated," he said.

"This kind of conduct is verging on urban terrorism."

Ms Ellery labelled the protesters "gutless" and reinforced that children could not be vaccinated without parental consent.

Australian Associated Press