Staff at an elite private school for boys were aware of a despicable group chat used to share sickening ‘racist, misogynistic and homophobic’ content for weeks before deciding whether to punish any of the pupils involved.
New details have emerged of Knox Grammar’s running of a secret chat room in which students sent ‘disturbing’ messages about gang rapes, abortion and Hitler.
The $35,000-a-year school first heard about the band in late July but only alerted parents this week when the vile messages were leaked, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Knox manager Scott James sent a letter to parents on Wednesday informing them that “several boys” had posted “inappropriate messages and engaged in offensive comments in private chat rooms”.
However, it has since been revealed that there were over 150 participants in the “Gang Gang” group chat – the majority of students or former students of Knox Grammar.
Teenagers at Knox Grammar, a private boys’ school on Sydney’s North Shore, used an encrypted app to post ‘racist, misogynistic and homophobic’ content
Mr James also told the parents the matter had been referred to NSW Police.
However, a source told The Daily Telegraph that police were only made aware of the full messages when they were shared by the publication on Tuesday.
Daily Mail Australia has asked Knox Grammar to comment on the new revelations.
Police investigated a video shared in the chat room of a student handling ammunition. They concluded it belonged to the boy’s father who owns a firearm on private property.
Some of the more graphic content has been assigned to the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes unit, which has yet to find any material that constitutes a crime.
The revelation comes just hours after a Jewish body called the entire Knox Grammar cohort to meet a Holocaust survivor.
Users of the chat room, hosted by messaging service Discord, sent vile messages using aliases like “n*****removalservice” and “Fa**othater3000”.
“I hate women, I hate gays, jews, people who don’t play fortnite, furs, n*****s, I like breasts, foot abortion, rape, drugs,” read one of the disturbing messages.
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark invited the entire Knox cohort to the Jewish Museum in Sydney to meet a Holocaust survivor
After reading the “grossly offensive and unacceptable” conversations, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Darren Bark invited the entire Knox cohort to the Sydney Jewish Museum to meet a survivor.
“We are horrified by reports of high school students in Sydney expressing anti-Semitic and pro-Hitler sentiments online,” Mr Bark said in a statement on Thursday.
“Glorifying and praising a heinous figure responsible for the genocide of millions of innocent people is both grossly offensive and unacceptable.
“We’re inviting the entire Knox Grammar cohort to visit the Jewish Museum in Sydney and meet a Holocaust survivor, so they can see there’s nothing funny about their comments.
“We would also welcome the participation of Knox students in the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ Respect, Understanding and Acceptance programme, which breaks down barriers between students of different religious and ethnic backgrounds.”
Knox Grammar suspended several students for their participation in the group and launched an internal investigation (pictured, a mockup of Discord messages)
Knox Grammar has since suspended several students for their involvement in the group dubbed “Gang Gang” and launched an internal investigation.
A school spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia that the boys who had been expelled were “trying to move to other schools”.
The posts include a mixture of sexist, racist and anti-Semitic sentiments coupled with several extreme anti-abortion statements.
“Hitler has always remained in my heart. Heil Hitler,” one message read.
“Silly ‘pro picks’ think women’s rights are important… I only hate kids and wish they died, take them out at the source,” wrote a second.
‘I’m a would-be pedophile maniac who rapes babies for a living,’ said a third, while another asked why they weren’t invited to a ‘rape party’.
Shocking videos of young men appearing to have been brutally raped or assaulted have also been shared in the group chat, which is believed to have been formed around two years ago.
A student in the chat said ‘gang tradition’ would prevent members from making fun of another, saying teachers had no power to ‘search your device for non-school related stuff’ .
Psychologist Tim Watson-Munro called the content “deeply disturbing” and said the chat room made “feel like a club or even a cult”.
The posts are a mix of sexist, racist and anti-Semitic sentiments coupled with several extreme anti-abortion statements (pictured, a mockup of Discord posts)
“What’s very disturbing is that there seems to be some organization to the way they communicate,” he told The Daily Telegraph earlier this week.
Mr Watson-Munro said there was a danger that a member of the “unhinged” group would act on some of the sadistic statements in his daily life.
In a letter sent to parents on Wednesday, Knox principal Scott James said the students involved had posted “inappropriate messages and engaged in offensive comments in private chat rooms.”
“The nature of these messages is contrary to Knox’s values and culture and is unacceptable,” the letter states.
“The actions of these boys do not reflect a Knox upbringing or the expectations we place on our students to be respectful and responsible citizens in the community.”
Mr James said there had been a ‘range of consequences’ for the students involved who were punished based on their participation in the ‘suspension of students leaving school’ chat room.
In a letter sent home to parents on Wednesday, pictured, Knox principal Scott James said the students involved had posted “inappropriate messages and engaged in offensive comments in private chat rooms”.
“As for the images, some were taken during school activities and later doctored, and the school has spoken to families of identifiable students.
“To be very clear, the doctored images do not require mandatory reporting under child protection requirements, and we have discussed the matter with the police.”
Parents were asked to talk to their sons about how they use social media and to remind them to use the platforms “respectfully” and “wisely”.
What is Discord Encrypted App?
Discord is an invite-only and encrypted messaging service, which means the data is hidden by being converted into code.
The platform is only accessible with a username and password with chat groups called “servers” – many of which remain small and exclusive.
Any Discord user can start a server for free and invite their friends.
There are also larger, more open communities, which usually focus on specific topics such as popular games like Minecraft and Fortnite.
The app estimates that it is used worldwide by tens of millions of people aged 13 and over.
Discord says the server is: “A place where they can be themselves and hang out with other people who share their interests and hobbies.”