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Posts Tagged 'Schools'

Irishman in Venice gets mad about Kiwi school!

It’s a beautiful day in Venice and the last thing I want to be doing is getting het up over some school in Northland whose Principal and Board of Trustees really should have chosen a calling more suited to their intellectual and pedagogical fitness such as drain-laying or running a borstal.

The school is Pompallier Catholic College whose credo appears to be that education is all about discouraging both their teachers and pupils from thinking for themselves and, more importantly, from challenging authority.

The authority in this case was the school’s Principal, one Richard Stanton, who wrote comments in the school newsletter opposing the Marriage Amendment Bill. Fair enough, he’s entitled to his view.

However, some of his pupils disagreed and set up a Facebook page “Support Gay Rights at Pom”. Goodonya!

There’s a science teacher at the school called Nigel Studdart. The Principal describes his teaching as “innovative and engaging”. He’s highly regarded by his students. Not the sort of bloke you’d want to lose then.

But Mr Studdart has a fatal flaw as a teacher: he thinks for himself and speaks his mind. At Pompalier only the Principal is apparently allowed to do that.

So when Mr Studdart supported the students’ Facebook protest against what the Principal had written, he was sacked. Pour encourager les autres, no doubt! Got to nip this free speech nonsense in the bud early, don’t you? Who knows where it could lead?

If I had a kid at Pompallier Catholic College – an unlikely scenario, I agree, for a Protestant atheist – I’d have him or her out of there tomorrow. You see, schools are about teaching kids to think and challenge. And good schools have teachers who are role models for thinking and challenging. The message the Principal and Board of Trustees have given the children at this school is that thinking and challenging doesn’t pay; it can even get you fired. Better to go along with authority. Better to conform.

As for Mr Studdart, I hope he takes them to the cleaners. And then finds a school worthy of his talents. His crime, by the way, was encouraging the kids to breach the school’s uniform code by wearing rainbow wristbands. Now that’s justice worthy of Henry VIII.

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