Mayhem on the mountain: Inside the Tamborine State High School defamation case.
Mayhem on the mountain: Inside the Tamborine State High School defamation case.

Fateful eight: The parents slapped with lawsuits

FOR weeks after the bitter online eruption, life in Mount Tamborine went on as normal.

Then they came.

In late April 2016, eight envelopes arrived in mail boxes or were served at homes around the area.

The letter inside - titled "concerns notice" - from lawyers representing Mrs Brose seemed benign enough.


The recipients - who would become known as the "Tamborine Eight" were Donna and Miguel Baluskas, Trudie Arnold, Ian Martin, Kerri Ervin, Laura Lawson, Charmaine Proudlock and Karl Veasey.

Apart from the married Baluskas couple, only two others in the group knew each other.

All worked everyday jobs, besides Ms Lawson who was injured at the time, owned homes and had separate links to the school.

The thing they all had in common: Between March 7 and March 13, all had written comments online about Tracey Brose which she said were false and defamatory of her.



All the comments were set out in Mrs Brose's original Statement of Claim.

On that fateful March night as she wound down and readied for bed, Mrs Baluskas had seen the petition and posted: "About time something is done about this evil, nasty, horrible women (SIC). She makes my blood boil and bought (SIC) so much pain and stress upon our family and many others. All because our kids aren't "A" students which will effect (sic) her overall school ratings."

Tamborine Mountain State High School Principal Tracey Brose. Picture: Jason O'Brien
Tamborine Mountain State High School Principal Tracey Brose. Picture: Jason O'Brien

The Baluskas's son attended the school for just two weeks, when he was 12 years old in 2014, before being thrown out over an incident on a school bus. His mum would later tell a court she thought Mrs Brose had blown the incident out of proportion.

Mrs Brose claimed Ms Baluskas' post falsely implied she was "an evil, horrible, nasty teacher, who brings pain and stress on children who do not get As, and their families, and who mistreats lower performing children, and who does so because they affect her school ratings".

Ms Baluskas' husband , a former soldier turned technician, had also weighed in online, describing the petition supporting Mrs Brose as "a joke".

"Thinks she (Brose) is a (sic) investigator, judge, jury and executioner and not a good one at that. She's not interested in the kids that don't fit the norm of education only high achievers. The only skills she has learnt in the last 16 years is the gift of the gab. Good riddens (sic)", he wrote on March 7."

"Good riddens (sic)."


Donna Baluskas. Picture: Jason O'Brien
Donna Baluskas. Picture: Jason O'Brien


Mrs Brose claimed Mr Baluskas' post contained seven false slurs, including that the principal thought she was an executioner and was dictatorial.

Lollipop lady Trudie Arnold had added to the Facebook criticism, saying Mrs Brose was a "lying manipulative bully, who gets off by belittling as many people as she can".

"She is pathetic … NOT an educator,'' Ms Arnold declared.

Ms Brose complained the post included nine falsehoods, including that she was a liar who was responsible for every failure at the school.



On March 10, North Tamborine dad Ian Martin had posted that his daughters "were subject to some moron teacher holding a ballpoint pen on its side to measure whether their skirts were ¼ or an inch to high" and labelled the principal "Commandant Brose".

He was accused of falsely claiming Mrs Brose ran the school like a concentration camp and had destroyed young children's souls.

Wongawallan mum Kerri Ervin allegedly wrote that Mrs Brose was "a bully bully bully. She has always done what she wanted to do and if anyone challenged her she made a point to destroy them and their children. Her time is UP. GOODBYE to a (sic) evil person."

Mrs Brose said the comment libelled her as being evil and manipulative and someone who brought pain to families.

Quietly-spoken grocery merchandiser Laura Lawson posted online that her sons had been targeted for "petty" punishment after bleaching their hair and getting an eyebrow piercing, claiming Mrs Brose "made their lives a nightmare".

One of the boys, she would later claim in court, was suspended over a comment scrawled on his fibreglass cast by another student.


Miguel Baluskas. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Miguel Baluskas. Picture: Liam Kidston.


"I could fill pages with the mistreatments of my children," she wrote online, according to court documents.

"Some parents have been trying to get rid of her for years, and I am very glad it has finally happened."'

She claimed the school ranking was manipulated by excluding poor-performing students from exams.

"I know this as a fact as my sons was not allowed to take the exam, along with many others,'' she said.

Mrs Brose maintained none of the claims were true.


Laura Lawson believed her sons had been targeted for “petty” punishment. Picture: Jason O'Brien
Laura Lawson believed her sons had been targeted for “petty” punishment. Picture: Jason O'Brien

Posting on Facebook, mother and aged-care nurse Charmaine Proudlock allegedly said: "Finally she is made accountable for her horrendous attitude and behaviour toward those she felt were less than herself … good riddance to bad rubbish .. she tried to destroy my daughter's future … key word TRIED."

Mrs Brose alleged this implied she behaved horrendously to those she felt were beneath her, was a bad principal and tried to destroy Ms Proudlock's daughter's future.

And father, Karl Veasey, was accused of defaming Mrs Brose by speculating why she may have been stood down, suggesting it was "obviously for something very awful" and could be "for a sex offense (sic).

The principal said Mr Veasey had wrongly implied she may have committed a sex crime or hurt a child.