Future of Pebble school in doubt
An exodus of followers from William Kamm‘s Order of St Charbel community at West Cambewarra has threatened the viability of the community’s school.
With several members of the breakaway Catholic community leaving following Kamm’s conviction and jailing for sex offences against a 15-year-old girl, doubts have been raised about the future viability of the St Joseph’s School, located on the religious community’s grounds.
Many of Kamm’s followers have already left the community, while others are planning to leave as the exodus accelerates in the wake of Kamm also being charged on Friday with additional offences which allegedly started when a girl was just 11.
Also planning to depart is St Joseph’s principal David Williams, who recently informed the Board of Studies about his decision.
Mr Williams’ decision to move on is the latest blow to the school of 31 students which has been repeatedly placed under the microscope in recent months.
Following Kamm’s conviction in July, which is in the process of being appealed, the Board of Studies launched an investigation into the school entailing three visits and discussions with parents.
“We established that the school has appropriate processes and procedures relating to child protection legislation, security, supervision, codes of conduct, complaint resolutions and pastoral care of students,” said a Board of Studies spokesperson.
“In addition, the school has developed a risk management strategy specific to the current circumstances, and it continues to seek advice and support from the Association of Independent Schools.”
In recent times, questions have also been raised about the amount of Federal and State Government money given to the school, given its links to Kamm.
In recent weeks, the number of students attending the school has dropped considerably, and the number of people leaving the community at West Cambewarra could sound the school’s death-knell.
The Board of Studies spokesperson said the board had “received reports of the intended departure of the current principal, and the potential for a significant reduction in enrolments at the school”.
Before reviewing the situation the Board of Studies is waiting for the school’s board to decide whether it would be able and capable of operating beyond the end of the year.
“When we made inquiries we were advised that the school board is to meet soon to consider the school’s future,” the Board of Studies spokesperson said.
“In light of these developments, the Board is pursuing further inquiries with members of the school community before considering the school’s application for renewal of registration beyond 2005.”
While Mr Williams did not want to comment on his individual future, he confirmed the school’s board of management was meeting to discuss the future viability in light of uncertainty over future numbers.
However he said the small school was “brilliant”, and it would be a great pity if it did not remain open to meet the needs of families living within the community.
While there are concerns about the implications of Kamm being released from jail pending his appeal, Mr Williams said the school had sought legal advice and “all legal aspects of the circumstance that we’re involved with have been met”.
The would-be pope is now prisoner 389834.
He announced on several occasions he was going to be Pope following the death of John Paul II and was going to lead the remnants of civilisation in a glorious and holy new era that followed the apocalypse.
But now William “The Little Pebble” Kamm is known simply as prisoner number 389834 in the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre, Silverwater Jail.
And he is also a registered sex offender, despite his barrister Greg Stanton preparing an appeal against Kamm’s conviction on four counts of aggravated indecent assault and one of aggravated sexual assault against a 15-year-old girl.
A Supreme Court bail application is also being prepared pending the appeal’s outcome.
As a registered sex offender, Kamm has various restrictions placed on him for the remainder of his life, including requirements to notify police of his address and of any vehicle he may drive.
He is also required to notify police of the details, requirements and place of his occupation, and whether it will bring him into contact with children.
Kamm is required to notify police when he is leaving NSW, and overseas travel could be difficult as many countries will not allow registered sex offenders inside their boundaries.