Science teacher gets a lesson in biology: you’ll get it in the neck if you push the head too far

Alf shares The Whale’s disregard for school teachers, and has done so ever since one of the buggers gave him an E minus for maths at Eketahuna Primary School way back at a time when he was highly impressionable.

Mind you, he does not have a disregard for all school teachers.

He must confess to having fancied one or two of the lady teachers he has encountered in his day.

And he has great sympathy for the ones who are expected to grin and bear it when they are insulted, assaulted, tormented and so on by a modern generation of brat that, in Alf’s considered view, would benefit enormously from a bloody good thrashing.

Alas, today’s namby-pamby educationalists do not allow a teacher to give brats a bloody good thrashing, which is a great shame.

And so, having thought about it for a bit, Alf is prepared to concede that it’s only some teachers for whom he has a high disregard.

He is inclined to put on this list the Northland teacher who was suspended last month after supporting a pro-gay protest at a Catholic College.

Now this feller has been given the old heave-ho.

Pompallier Catholic College science teacher Nigel Studdart was formally dismissed from his teaching position late on Tuesday night after a four-hour meeting with the school’s Board of Trustees (see here).

And guess what…

He could see it coming, which seriously suggests he knew he had made an ass of himself.

“It is the outcome I was expecting,” he said today.

“I went into the meeting with plenty of documentation and a well-prepared argument but it was obviously a foregone conclusion.”

This is the inevitable consequence – wouldn’t you say? – of publicly challenging the school principal (who strikes Alf as being an admirable bloke).

The principal, a Richard Stanton, wrote comments in the school newsletter opposing The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill.

Next thing you know a Facebook page, “Support Gay Rights at Pom”, had been set up on which many pupils were expressing outrage at their principal’s comments.

Some planned a protest at the school by wearing rainbow ribbons or armbands to show their support for gay marriage.

Studdart says he was told he was being suspended for supporting the protest.

“It was said I breached the school uniform policy by encouraging students to wear a rainbow wristband to support the rights of the gay community,” he said last month.

But there was a bit more to the story according to an earlier account (here).

He said the Facebook page was taken down “so I set it back up again, mainly to moderate the comments that were being made. I was told to leave instantly.”

Mr Studdart said he objected to Mr Stanton’s assumption “that gay parents were lesser parents” because they were gay.

As Alf noted before – he defied the principal of a school for Catholic kids, where religious teaching is apt to come into considerations.

It’s instructive to check out the PPTA’s position.

“It’s complicated when teachers take up jobs at schools with special character because it does involve a certain amount of commitment to the principles of that special character – provided they do not breach human rights or provisions under the employment relations act – and there can be tension in the way that operates,” PPTA president Robin Duff said.

But not all school principals are creatures who command Alf’s respect.

He heard an item this morning (here) about primary school principals in Christchurch describing a meeting with the Ministry of Education on Thursday night as confusing.

Up to 100 principals and Boards of Trustee members met at the ministry’s offices to hear further details about how the Government’s proposed $1 billion overhaul of the region’s education system will affect them.

The shake-up, announced last Thursday, will see about 30 primary and intermediate schools either close or merge.

Some of these principals, accordingly, stand to become ex-principals before long.

What is it they don’t understand?

Or did they find the session at the ministry confusing because – ahem – they happen to be confused.

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