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Catherine Deveny, comedy writer, stand-up comedian and perpetual sad sack.

I have never encountered a column writer who has such an immense talent for finding something offensive or hurtful in ordinary day to day life and human interaction.

But she manages to slip beneath even her former underwhelming efforts in her column variously titled private schools muck up, watch those grammars, or private school values.

Firstly she is offended by the idea that a private school principal might have some friends who could assist someone in need.

Did you read about the boy who may lose hearing in one ear because a Melbourne Grammar boy threw an egg at him during a muck-up prank gone wrong? Did anyone else feel sickened but at the same time not at all surprised when the principal of Melbourne Grammar said in an interview: “[The injured boy’s mother] asked for help because . . . her son was not able to gain access to a surgeon. I was able to, through contacts, get him an appointment with a surgeon the very next day.’

Well, actually no. I was not sickened by this. I was pleased to hear of school authorities taking responsibility and doing what they could to assist.

It is still not clear to me what Catherine found so distressing.

The idea that some people actually have friends? The idea that some people might be willing to help someone in need? The idea that some people might be in a position to help someone in need?

Baffling.

Then she is offended by being invited to mentor a gifted student at another private school. Well, offended that no pay is offered. The school is surprised that she asks. No one else has done so.

Catherine suggests the school is greedy, attempting to shame her into working for nothing to increase their company profitability.

But private schools are not businesses. They are non-profit organisations whose income goes entirely into providing facilities for students and their communities.

Private schools receive substantially less government funding than state schools – on average $5000 less for every student. Parents and school communities work hard to make up the rest.

Catherine told the schoool that she would mentor a student if the school agreed to donate $200 to the Asylum Seekers’ Resource Centre. They agreed, and she mentored the student.

The school should have just said ‘No thanks’ right at the start.

There are some people who walk into my shop whom I know within thirty seconds of their opening their mouths that I do not want as customers. There are some people you will just never be able to please.

But having agreed, it should have given the money.

Catherine claims the school reneged on the agreement. Maybe they did.

She took their not wanting to communicate with her as proof. Maybe they had just reached the same conclusion about her that I reach about some of my customers – too much trouble when weighed against possible benefits.

If they did not give the money, their failure to do so is reprehensible.

But one incident of one school not doing the right thing does not make greed and dishonesty ‘private school values.’ There is something wrong in thought processes that can lead to such a claim being made with such blind certainty.

What is wrong with Catherine Deveny?

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