Parents rally to have Islamic school principal sacked
An online petition has been launched calling for the sacking of the principal of NSW's largest Islamic school.
The petition - claiming to be on behalf of the "parents, students, alumni, staff and community leaders" of Malek Fahd Islamic School - are calling on the governing board to remove principal Bruce Rixon.
The school does not come under the jurisdiction of the NSW Department of Education, instead it is governed by its own board made up of nine members.
The petitioners are critical of Mr Rixon and the recent appointment of his wife Kate Rixon to the role of deputy head of campus at the school's Hoxton Park campus in Sydney's south west.
Mr Rixon was appointed principal in 2017 when the school was on the brink of closure after a fallout with its then major shareholder the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) and a mire of state and federal government funding suspension.
Despite Mr Rixon removing himself from the interviewing panel, the petitioners claim "there is a clear conflict of interest in having a husband and wife duo as a principal and deputy (head of campus)".
The Daily Telegraph understands Mr Rixon met his wife when he joined the school three years ago and she had already been a long-term Malek Fahd staff member.
The petition also raises a number of other issues, which The Daily Telegraph understands the school and principal deny.
The school's governing board today issued a statement to the entire school community regarding the petition.
The Daily Telegraph understands they were not aware of its existence until they were alerted to it on Wednesday.
"Many of you will be aware of an online petition circulated by an anonymous person (or people) calling for the removal of the principal, Bruce Rixon," the statement obtained by The Daily Telegraph read.
"The board believes that the matters listed in the petition are baseless and distort the true situation. Nevertheless, the board will investigate the significant matters raised in the petition and advise the community accordingly.
"The board is very disappointed with the tone of the petition and the attempts to personally vilify the Principal and other senior staff.
"While the matters raised are concerning, the approach taken by the authors of the petition demonstrate a disappointing lack of respect for the hardworking individuals who have achieved so much for the school."
Parents then circulated their own statement angered by the board's response and called for a "silent protest" to be held outside the school's main Greenacre campus on Monday.
An analysis of school funding by The Daily Telegraph in October this year found Malek Fahd - which has three campuses in Greenacre, Hoxton Park and Beaumont Hills - was the third most-funded government school in the state, pocketing $74.1m in the three years to 2017.
In September, the Civil and Administrative Tribunal NSW rejected the school's appeal not to pay back $11m in funding provided by the NSW Government.
The ruling came two years after it won a battle in the Federal Court after the Federal Government withheld funding over claims the school was not spending the money on educating its students.
In its statement to the school community today, the board revealed it had lodged a further appeal to the NSW Commercial and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), which will be heard next week.