Thursday, February 25, 2010

Special arrangements for transport of Carenne Support director's child

It has been reported that a special agreement has been struck between Geoff Salmon, director of Carenne Support Ltd and a Special Needs Transport Service operator Dick Spears to make special arrangements regarding the transport of his son. These arrangements allow Mr Spears to over declare the number of kilometres traveled and receive overpayments from the NSW Department of Education and Training.

Mr Spears operates what Carenne Special School staff call the Oberon run. He runs his minibus in the area around the town of Oberon. Mr Spears is paid to take Mr Salmon's son to his home near Oberon, but an arrangement has been struck between Mr Salmon and Mr Spears to drop the student off at a home in Kelso when requested. It is alleged that Mr Spears does this without knowledge of the special transport unit and still declares the full kilometres of taking Mr Salmon's son home. This can result in over declarations of around 50 kilometres per day.

On some days when this arrangement is carried out Mr Spears uses another minibus with his wife as a driver and transports Mr Salmon's son to Kelso while he continues his own route. A number of staff allege that the department has not approved the splitting of the run in two as they did not know that Mr Spears had been transporting Mr Salmon's son to Kelso instead of Oberon.

Staff at Carenne Special School are well aware of this arrangement and have said nothing about it until now.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Carenne Support director appears in court

Charges laid against Geoffrey Salmon, 54 were mentioned in the Bathurst Local Court yesterday. Mr Salmon, a director of Carenne Support Limited faces charges of unauthorised entry of a vehicle and obstructing traffic in relation to an alleged incident involving a Carenne Gate protest vehicle on 11 December 2009.

The matter will be mentioned again on 12 April 2010.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 3 of the Withyman case

During the third day of the Withyman case applications for the case to be adjourned were made by both the NSW Department of Education and Training and former Carenne Special School teacher, Anna Blackburn.

The education department was unsuccessful in its application, however Miss Blackburn was successful and the case has been adjourned until 22 March 2010. Miss Blackburn has been referred to the court registrar for assistance in applying for pro bono legal representation.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

DET staff talk up new principal on Carenne Gate

A DET computer has once again been used to post to this blog. Today, a comment was posted stating:
This wouldn't of happened if Neil Moon was the principal at the time, he is a great man and leader. He did a brilliant job as principal of Holman Place SSP. No doubt the executive at the time knew of this.

This posting comes despite Carenne staff being told that posting to this blog or speaking to the media is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct.

A trace of this post revealed that it was posted from a DET computer with the number

Withyman case to resume tomorrow

The case between David Withyman, a former student of Carenne School and the state of NSW continues in the Sydney District Court tomorrow.

It will resume at 10AM in court room 13E.

The Special Needs Transport Service puts staff before other parents

It has been revealed that a parent whose two daughters attend the Carenne Special School has been refused Special Needs Transport assistance by the Department of Education and Training, despite having to make a 40 Km round trip twice per day.

The Department of Education and Training will not provide assistance to the students as they claim their parents can bring them to and from school.

Despite this claim, a teacher at the Carenne Special School, Janelle Kemp receives transport assistance for her son to be transported to and from school by Carenne Support Ltd, an organisation central to the Carenne Gate affair. Staff claim that Mrs Kemp has a suitable vehicle to transport her son to school and claim that the rule stating parents mustn't be able to bring their children to and from school to be eligible for transport assistance must have been relaxed or overlooked in her case.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Carenne 'Mafia'

After a day's work, the blog has been restored with no content lost.

This morning between 7AM and 8AM the attack promised by "ringostar" on Thursday against this blog was carried out. Ringostar had posted a threat that by Saturday morning the site would be no more and attributed this to the Department of Education and Training's legal team being at the school.

The attack was carried out by a user using the name "omerta", a word used by the Sicilian Mafia to refer to their code of silence. A sign saying "Stop Snitching" was placed on the front page of the site with all other articles deleted.

The attack was carried out by an amateur who managed to add themselves to the administrator's list of the blog and deleted items in the administration section of the blog. They forgot to remove their account name and email address from this list when the attack was complete. A non-broadband connection was used by the attacker.

As the site is located in the United States, authorities are investigating.


We are currently working on getting all the work on the blog back after an attack by a user called 'omerta' this morning. It seems that the threat by 'hatho' Thursday night was carried out.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Carenne Support uses "cheap fix" on bus, places students in danger

Despite claims made in comments on this blog that a bus driver was "breaking the bus", it has been revealed that issues with one of Carenne Support's buses which it used to transport special needs students was caused by a "cheap fix".

It was revealed on Sydney Indymedia that the bus had been put into Clancys Motors in Bathurst after the driver refused to drive it.

Investigations by myself discovered that the vehicle had a lead in a hydraulic line which controls the bus' gearbox and could have caused the vehicle to lose gears and drop out in to neutral when in the middle of an intersection. This is a potentially disabled situation if it happens in the middle of an intersection.

An anonymous source at Clancy Motors said that he believed that the problem was not an issue with the bus itself but came from a "cheap fix" which had been done on the bus at the beginning of 2009. He said that Carenne Support had taken the bus to Sydney as Carenne Support were refusing to pay what Clancy Motors wanted to do the job properly. The source claims that when the work was done the line was incorrectly routed and rubbed wearing a hole in it.

It shows that when a mechanic is significantly cheaper than others that they usually cut corners. Its yet another case of Carenne Support putting profit before safety.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 2 of the Withyman case

The case of David Withyman against Carenne Special School and its former teacher Anna Blackburn entered its second day of hearing before Judge Elkaim today.

The judge has allowed a three day adjournment as Mr Withyman has amended his claim and the Department of Education and Training needs time to go through and meet the amendments. While hearing this amendment, the department was given the opportunity to cross-examine Mr Withyman's solicitor Kristi McCusker. Counsel for the department asked who had been posting on this blog, which was successfully objected to by Counsel for Mr Withyman, Hugh Marshall, SC.

The judge encouraged Miss Blackburn, who is unrepresented before the court to seek assistance through the pro bono scheme during this time so she can be legally represented.

The case will resume on Monday.

Day 1 of the Withyman case

Opening submissions were made to Judge Michael Elkaim in the Sydney District Court as the case bought by a former student, David Withyman against Carenne Special School and his former teacher Anna Blackburn entered the first day of hearing. The case is expected to run for 10 days.

Mr Withman, now aged 24 is suing the NSW Department of Education and Training and Miss Blackburn, 36 claiming that he became violent and ended up in a mental hospital and gaol after Miss Blackburn ended their eight month affair. Counsel for Mr Withyman, Hugh Marshall, SC told the court that Mr Withyman, who is intellectually disabled could not cope with Miss Blackburn ending the relationship.

Mr Marshall told the court that Mr Withyman and the school had entered into a behaviour contact, which stated that "From this point on there is to be no contact by me with Miss Blackburn."

Within days, Miss Blackburn invited Mr Withyman to her home despite the behaviour contract. During the alleged sexual relationship they met at least weekly. Mr Marshall told the court that on occasion Mr Withyman stayed overnight at Miss Blackburn's home in the village of Wattle Flat.

Mr Marshall said that Mr Withyman was in love with Blackburn.

Mr Marshall charged that the school was aware of a relationship of an inappropriate nature, although perhaps not that it was of a sexual relationship it did nothing to intervene. Despite the behaviour contract limiting Mr Withyman's contact with Miss Blackburn, the school asked Miss Blackburn to drive Mr Withyman alone to work and TAFE.

Mr Marshall told the court that both Carenne Special School and Miss Blackburn had failed in their duty of care to Mr Withyman and that the school was vicariously liable for Miss Blackburn's actions.

Miss Blackburn, who was unrepresented in court said that she was the victim as Mr Withyman had assaulted her. She told the court she has a apprehended violence order against Mr WIthyman and that she feared that the case would provide "vindication" to violent men to blame their victims.

Miss Blackburn asked the judge "What will I tell my 11-year-old daughter when I get home from this hearing, Your Honour? Will I have to tell her that the court blames Mummy for 'bad David', as she calls him, hitting me?"

The Sydney Morning Herald has also reported on this event.

Photo Caption: The senior class of Carenne Special School in 2003. Blackburn is pictured far left while Withyman is fourth from the right. Credit: Sydney Morning Herald.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Student sex affair case to commence

The former Carenne School student, David Withyman, who alleges he was involved in a sexual relationship will bring his case before the Sydney District Court today. Mr Withyman is suing the state and former Carenne School teacher Anna Blackburn over the relationship.

Mr Withyman won the right to sue the state of NSW after a ruling by Judge Ray McLoughlin in November 2008 where the judge found there was prima facie evidence that Carenne School and Miss Blackburn had breached their duty of care to the former student.

In late November 2008, the affair received national media coverage when Miss Blackburn sued the NSW Department of Education for unfair dismissal. After hearing five days of evidence and a brief adjournment, Miss Blackburn withdrew her claim and agreed to pay the department's costs.

Mr Withyman's case commences today at 10AM in District Court 13B, John Maddison Tower, Goulburn Street, Haymarket.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Exposure to mercury covered up

Carenne School has covered up the exposure of a number of students and staff to Mercury vapor following the breakage of a projector lamp on Wednesday. Staff claim that the lamp broke after Michael Auld told class staff it would be safe to continue using after a safety warning appeared saying it needed replacement.

Staff claim that following the breakage and release of vapor, students remained in the room despite it being a recommendation that the room be evacuated and aired out for at least 15 minutes with the air conditioner off. It is possible that the teacher did not know about this safety procedure. Staff also claim that the mercury was cleaned up using a vacuum, which the US EPA discourages as it makes mercury particles airborne.

Peter Harvey was made aware of the incident by a Carenne whistleblower who claims she never heard back from him.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Nepotistic staffing continues at Carenne Special School

Over the past several months, allegations about nepotism in staffing at Carenne Special School and the failure to follow merit selection procedures has surfaced. These claims have been been strengthened by the appointment of Karina Mollenkamp and Yvette Smith to permanent teacher's aide positions.

The appointment came as no surprise, on February 7 it was posted on this blog that these two aides would be given permanent positions, before the interviews were even held. Carenne Special School staff were not at all surprised when it was announced yesterday that they would be taking up permanent positions after being successful in the interview process.

Staff claim that Lee Churches told them that the selection process had already been sewn up, as her and the executive wanted Molenkamp and Smith because they can be trusted. Molenkamp is a close friend to a number of staff at Carenne Special School, which is how she got the casual job there to begin with. Smith is a close friend of two members of the Carenne Special School executive.

Staff believe that both aides were not the best choice for the job, claiming they have less skills and experience than other candidates. They claim it is yet another example of Carenne Nepotism.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Legal representation provided to $130,000 pa contractor (again)

Carenne Support, the organisation central to the Carenne Gate Affair is being represented in the Industrial Relations Commission by the Director-General of Education and Training, despite being a contractor earning in excess of $130,000 a year from the Department of Education and Training.

The Carenne Gate Affair first came to the public's attention when I reported on Sydney Indymedia that the Minister for Education and Training misled parliament in response to a question about whether or not the Department of Education and Training was providing legal representation to its contractor Carenne Support Limited. That legal representation was subsequently withdrawn.

Since June 2009, a number of concerns have been raised about Carenne Support. These range from a fundraising campaign to purchase two buses for the school which ended up owned by Carenne Support, the principal of Carenne Special School approving payment from DET to a company he is a director of, Overclaiming of payments from the department to Carenne Support and a Carenne Support escort, therapy blunders, the destruction of evidence that a student had not received therapy, the remuneration of a director when it is a non-profit company, false claims made about another operator to try and take his contract, harassment of parents and whistleblowers and allowing a bus to be used when human faeces had been placed inside it to harass one of its drivers.

The Department of Education and Training is also aware of Carenne Support director and Carenne Special School assistant principal Lee Churches posting on Sydney Indymedia, threatening parents, leaking confidential information and making racist remarks. There has also been the posting of information on this blog by Mary Housler, Carenne Support's book keeper. These postings have been made in direct contravention of orders by the Department of Education and Training.

It would appear that the department is looking the other way while these issues with Carenne Support are raised and debated publicly even though this is looking as though the department is condoning this behaviour. On 5 February 2010, I asked the Disability Programs Directorate of the Department of Education and Training just why Carenne Support is given this special treatment. I am told that the "appropriate officer" is looking at it but has not gotten back to me.

Now Carenne Support is being represented in new legal proceedings by the Department of Education of Training, it looks as though it is part of the department or at the least given some special status by it. Is this because it involves prominent parents, staff and Bathurst community members? Why should the department provide this assistance to a contractor which earns some $130,000 a year from it?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Carenne staff bully driver using faeces

Also posted to Sydney Indymedia

On Monday February 8 2010, students from Carenne School in Bathurst were forced to travel on a bus between Bathurst and Lithgow after staff had placed faeces on the front seat. According to witness accounts, a number of Carenne School staff were standing around and laughing as the driver got in and found the stinking mess.

On a blog that evening, one of the staff posted asking whether the driver liked her present that was left for her. The story then came out that someone had placed faeces on the seat of the bus in an attempt to bully the driver.

Students then had to travel from Bathurst to Lithgow in a bus stinking of faeces.

It further demonstrates bullying and threats at a school full of problems.

Parents have contacted the principal of Carenne Public School, Neil Moon and Bathurst Schools Director Peter Harvey about the bullying of a driver using human faeces and the transport of students in a bus smelling of faeces for three days.

The schools director told parents that the bus was vandalised and the vandals must have put the faeces in the bus. Carenne principal Neil Moon told parents that a student had an "accident" on the front seat of the bus. Posts on this website indicate otherwise.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Another Carenne staff encourage underage drinking

From Inside Carenne

Following the revelation that Lee Churches supplies her underage son and his friends with alcohol, she began showing people photographs of another Carenne staff member who encourages underage drinking at their house. It appears that Simone Russell, the school's SAM and her husband Sergeant Scott Russell supply alcohol to their underage daughter and friends at the family home.

Is that a police plaque in the background? I thought the Supply Means Supply campaign by the Police was supposed to kerb this kind of behaviour yet you have one of their own officers supplying alcohol to minors!

A very drunk visitor to the Russell family home

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Another Indymedia claim comes true - Minshull looked after by Carenne Support

In what is clearly a case of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours", Carenne Support has employed former Capebase driver Steven Minshull to look after its vehicles.

Minshull was accused on this website of conspiring with Simone Russell to defraud the department to maximise payment to his employer.

Despite claims by Carenne Support representatives and the Carenne Special School executive that everything on Sydney Indymedia and Carenne Gate are lies, rubbish or rot; it appears that yet another claim made by a Carenne Saviour has come true.

On September 19th 2009, savecarenne wrote:
"What about this new deal Steve the bus driver and Ros have so that a new student
in her class will travel to and from school on his bus so he still has a bus driving job
at the end of the year. Carenne Support's bus could do the job with ease, but instead
of doing what makes sense they are looking after their friend. I wouldn't be surprised
if Steve loses a run that Carenne would give him a job maybe on one of their own
It would appear that despite this arrangement not going ahead (possibly due to being publicly exposed) that Carenne Support has scratched its mate's back for him, ensuring he still has a job.

UPDATE: Mary Housler, Carenne Support's book keeper has admitted that a position was offered to Mr Minshull by Christine Porter and herself but was refused by him the next day after he took a copy of the contract. Mary also admits she told staff that Steve would be working as a bus escort the following Monday and alternate arrangements have been made now that he has refused Carenne Support's offer.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

DET computer used to post to Carenne Gate

Despite warnings from Carenne Special School executive staff, the Bathurst schools director and regional director Carole McDiarmid a DET computer was used to post to this website at 4:13PM on 1 February 2010.

Due to the posting of a person's home address in a posting which appeared to threaten a whistleblower or parent using this site, I had it traced by an access request which discovered it to be from the source address

Peter Harvey was contacted about the posting but hasn't replied.

It is believed that the posting came from a source in the department other than Carenne Special School as I am told this site is blocked from being accessed there.