Yarra River milk prank: Melbourne Grammar head apologises, suggests student made ‘dreadful mistake’

The principal of an elite private school in Melbourne says a Year 11 boy is being investigated for allegedly pouring milk on boat passengers in a series of viral TikTok “pranks” that sparked widespread outrage.

However, some have slammed Melbourne Grammar headmaster Philip Grutzner for suggesting it may have been a “young boy who has made a dreadful mistake”.

The young man going by the moniker “giddynokiddy” made headlines on Monday after sharing videos and boasting of several incidents in which milk was poured on members of the public around the Yarra in Southbank.

In one clip he was shown hurling milk off the Evan Walker Bridge onto people in hired leisure boats below.

Another showed a bystander almost struck by a half-full milk bottle from a rooftop.

One of the unfortunate parties was a group of friends who hired a GoBoat for a birthday celebration.

Footage from both the party and the alleged offender showed the moment they were covered in milk.

“You guys want some milk,” the young prankster asks.

“Don’t! Oi!” the four young women plead before they, their cheese platter and Bluetooth speaker, are soaked in dairy.

The aftermath showed the women and their belongings drenched.

Victoria Police issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon revealing it was “investigating after a number of people on a boat were sprayed with milk in the CBD over the weekend” and asked for anyone who witnessed the incident or who had information to “please come forward”.

As backlash spread, the prankster issued grovelling pleas for mercy on TikTok shortly before his account was taken down.

“Police have phoned my parents, are you guys happy now? I have a criminal record now, never ever going to be able to live life. You happy?” he said in one interaction.

“Why’d you do this to me. You ruin my life over a ruined day, you upped the anti [sic], I’m just a kid and you ruined my life,” he said in another, tagging one of his victims who had been working to call out his behaviour.

“Please stop contacting my school, my school has caught me and I am facing expulsion. Can’t believe you would do this to [a] minor,” he reportedly wrote.

On Wednesday, Melbourne Grammar confirmed the Year 11 boy had been reported to the school over the incident.

Melbourne Grammar is one of the most expensive private schools in the state, with annual fees of up to $46,540.

Mr Grutzner said in a statement that the school had been told the boy and others unknown to the school threw eggs and poured milk on groups of people.

“This behaviour is completely unacceptable,” he said.

“We are treating the matter with the utmost seriousness and are in the process of investigating it. We will cooperate fully with the authorities in relation to any formal investigation that is launched. We endeavour to instil an understanding of the importance of respect and care for others in our students every day. It is the single most crucial lesson we hope they will learn well and take with them beyond the school gates. Further, we try to cultivate a culture in which students act responsibly and are accountable for their actions.”

Mr Grutzner said even though the alleged incident occurred outside school, “should a Melbourne Grammar School student be involved, I will be impressing my views on the student, making it clear that I expect him to make reparation for his actions and that we will not tolerate further incidents of this nature”.

He said the school would also “work with his parents in the handling of this matter, including punitive action, reparation, apologies and counselling”.

“It may well be that here is a young boy who has made a dreadful mistake,” he said.

“If that is the case we would take all necessary steps to improve his future behaviours.”

He added, “As our investigation is not complete and we are dealing with alleged behaviour involving a minor, we will not be making any further comments to the media.”

Mr Grutzner’s comments went viral online, with many criticising his choice of words.

“This p****s me off it wasn’t a ‘mistake’ it was a deliberate act by an idiot,” one Melbourne Reddit user wrote.

“Oops, accidentally slipped and opened the milk bottle and then poured it over the edge of a bridge right on to someone’s boat. Oops!” another said.

A third wrote, “The only ‘dreadful mistake’ here is making excuses for the miserable b*****d. I’m just wondering if the kid is going to be held responsible and he / his family are going to pay for the damage caused by this d**khead, or if they as is more often than not the case, try and weasel out.”

But some argued the language was fine.

“I’m shocked at the number of people who don’t know the difference between accident and mistake,” one wrote.

Another said, “A lot of people here have gripes with the word mistake but they’re conflating mistakes with accidents. What he did was undoubtedly a mistake, an intentional mistake. It was misguided and wrong, how is that not a mistake?”

Melbourne Grammar has been contacted for further comment.

frank.chung@news.com.au

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