When a domestic violence situation turns into a murder, the press has to pick its words carefully. Well, what happens if a staff member is killed on school property by a colleague? If you’ve been following Project Fangirl’s coverage of the Lilie James murder, you’ll know how carefully we choose our words.
We’ve been getting small pieces of information in the media about Paul Thijssen, too, and the consensus we’ve reached is somewhat mixed. Some people called him a creep who would flirt with the underage female students. Others have called him a good guy who was always professional. So, which is it?
We’re bringing this up is because a new story has emerged about the former headmaster of Saint Andrews Cathedral School, where Lilie James’ alleged murderer, Paul Thijssen, was a student. The headmaster, who now works at a different school, said the killer was a perfect role model, and “an absolute delight”. This is while he was a student. The story first appeared on the ABC website.
Moreover, the headmaster had written his comments in a Shore school newsletter. Everything can be put out in the public domain, especially if it’s a digital newsletter. Also, his words matter more than most because he is the school’s headmaster.
The newsletter raises a few questions within itself. While the headmaster has said he didn’t intend for his words to be offensive to anyone, people will find ways to criticise it because, as we mentioned, his words matter, especially when he knew Paul Thijssen when he was a student.
Does Paul Thijssen’s Headmaster Support Domestic Violence Perperators?
Many people are likely wondering if the comments made indicate that he supports domestic violence perpetrators overall. Could he have chosen better words for his statement about Paul Thijssen? Yeah. But the best thing he could have done was not saying anything. The deceased didn’t attend the Shore School, so what relevance did it have? Just because the school’s headmaster knew him doesn’t mean he should have commented. If he had still been working at Saint Andrew’s, go ahead, but better words would’ve been needed to comfort the grieving students.
Also, this situation is very reminiscent of the roasting Bettina Arndt got after she said that Hannah Clarke was the reason Rowan Baxter snapped and killed her and their children.
For those who aren’t aware, Bettina Arndt is a men’s rights campaigner. She was roasted on television during a Q&A on ABC by a schoolgirl. Her words meant something because of the field she works in, but victim-shaming someone who has just been murdered is not on.
Returning to the Paul Thijssen conversation, his former teacher should have picked out better words. Also, as we were researching, we found that there were no domestic violence-related priors from Lilie James against Paul Thijssen. Finally, this might explain why people praise him as a great person who did a terrible thing.