Well motivated but wrong

September 22nd, 2012 at 11:38 am by David Farrar

NZ Herald reports:

Current and former students have thrown their support in behind a Northland Catholic school teacher who was fired after he supported a gay rights protest.

was dismissed from Pompallier Catholic College in Whangarei on Tuesday evening after a four-hour meeting with the school’s Board of Trustees.

Last month the school’s principal Richard Stanton wrote comments in the school newsletter opposing The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, which passed its first reading in Parliament.

Mr Studdart was then suspended for supporting a protest at the school which involved students wearing rainbow ribbons or armbands to show their support for gay marriage.

I think the principal was unwise to write comments on a non-educational issue on the school newsletter. And good on the students for expressing their views via a protest.

But Mr Studdart was wrong to join and support that protest. He is a teacher, employed by the Principal. He could have told the principal directly he thought his column was wrong. He could have lobbied colleagues to support him. He could have written to the Board.

But you can’t have a teacher take part in a protest action against the principal. Few schools would allow it.

It is a huge shame, what has happened. It is clear Nigel Studdart was a popular and effective teacher, who cares deeply for his students. Hopefully he will be employed elsewhere. But he did make a serious error of judgement in supporting a student protest against the principal.

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42 Responses to “Well motivated but wrong”

  1. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    He’ll get mainstream support. A state school will take him.

    He’ll feel much more at home

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  2. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    Why was he wrong. Every day in every university there are seminars, papers, and books produced supporting nanny state, regulation ridden big government policies by academics that are just expressing their opinions. No one criticises them. In fact even national continues to fund them.

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  3. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Catholic schools are doctrinal Kevin.

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  4. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    “Non-educational issue” WTF?

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  5. kowtow (8,512 comments) says:

    And no doubt there are current and past pupils who support the principal…….has the media reported that?

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  6. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    Musta been one of them damned Presbyterians.

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  7. Keeping Stock (10,342 comments) says:

    Kevin asks “Why was he wrong?”

    Because Kevin, the principal was his boss. And the golden rule in most businesses or other enterprises is this:

    The boss may not always be right, but (s)he’s always the boss

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  8. gump (1,650 comments) says:

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ”

    Teachers are morally obligated to confront stupidity in all its forms. We need more teachers like Nigel Studdart.

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  9. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    At the risk of invoking Godwin”s Law, the boss ain’t always right. As the boss’s misses will testify.

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  10. Griff (7,791 comments) says:

    Good to see that DPF does not have double standards teachers should teach not protest against the principle or the state in school time.
    I do admire the teacher for sticking up for his beliefs but question why he worked in a fundie mental school with his views.

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  11. East Wellington Superhero (1,151 comments) says:

    @ gump

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”

    True, but that would imply you believe in moral objectivity. Modern NZ society doesn’t seem to. Morality is now just defined by what is popular.

    Conversely, why can’t the school be credited with being courageous for sticking up for its values?

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  12. Keeping Stock (10,342 comments) says:

    @ gump – Nigel Studdart should perhaps have considered how his liberal philosophy would go down before he applied for a job at a very conservative school. He may well be right, but his response has been ill-considered, and incompatible with the special character of the school that employs him.

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  13. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    Science teachers in religious doctrinaire schools are always playing dice with their careers. This sort of stuff will continue to happen as the integrated school paradox continues. Sermonising principals are fine on someone else’s dollar, but not when they’re paid for by the government.

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  14. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    I don’t think his boss told him not to speak out. Just got him dismissed when he did.

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  15. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    So now the Nats. DPF and Keeping stock are intent on imposing speach control on a person’s freedom to speak put.

    Unless the teachers right to speak out is specifically ruled out in his contract then he is entitled by law and by all the fundamental rules in this country to say what he thinks. (as most of us do here on KB0.
    The Headmaster should be the one fired and indeed if the teacher goes to the employment court as he should as well as the human rights Tribunal they will get canned as they should.

    No boss can stop people saying what they beleive to be right. Its not a defamation issue, its person’s free right to be able to express their opinion.

    Is this a new policy being developed between the Nats, Catholics and taking their lessons from the Muslims.
    I invite you to think about why you live in NZ and why we beleive in that Freedom of speach.

    Redbaiter is more rigght as each day goes by.

    [DPF: You're an idiot. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. If you work for say Telecom, and then joined a protest march saying the Telecom CEO should resign, you'd be outski. An employee has an obligation of loyalty to an employer]

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  16. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    The irony of course should not be missed.

    Homosexual discussion inside a Catholic School.

    They have a history forever of covering up this stuff.

    Now whatch as Lucia and all those come along to defend their bogus company.

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  17. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    Marriage is a nest.

    And some gays need to stay within that nest till they mature. :cool:

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  18. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    “….Science teachers in religious doctrinaire schools are always playing dice with their careers….’

    Crap!

    Science and religion are 2 entirely differant matters.

    Science is about the gathering of facts to support an hypthesis. Religion on the other hand is a ‘belief’. A belief that one will be better for it if that belief is held.

    And that is why men and women teach their children to pray to God and to not go about gathering facts to support God’s existance.

    – Irving Kristol.

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  19. kowtow (8,512 comments) says:

    V2

    We’ll defend ours,that’s called freedom of conscience….

    you keep defending your fat German,ya vol! After all we do live in a free society,nice.

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  20. kowtow (8,512 comments) says:

    griff says “fundie mental” hahahahaha

    Pot kettle.

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  21. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    I disagree DPF.

    Teachers should put the needs of their students first. If that means that for the good of the students, that the ego of a bigoted principal gets bruised a little bit, then so be it.
    Remember principals of high schools don’t even teach classes. They spend most of their day shuffling around bits of paper for the Ministry! Here is a teacher that saw some of his students being marginilised and decided to speak out and support them, even if it put his job on the line (which ultimately it did).
    The support he has got from his students and parents speaks volumes. He should be commended.

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  22. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    “Science teachers in religious doctrinaire schools are always playing dice with their careers.”

    Sorry that’s not relevant here – went to a catholic school but now an atheist – catholic schools are pretty religious (sorry) in teaching science as science – their belief system is such that science is fine (none of this creationist crap) and many a jesuit was a decent scientist.

    And as much a I disagree with the views of the principal they are catholic views in a catholic school. Studdart is working in a catholic school and would understand that one requirement of working in such a school is that the religious bent is part of the package.

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  23. Aredhel777 (290 comments) says:

    Well, it is a Catholic school and Catholics believe very strongly in stuff like the fact that homosexuality is wrong. When people send their kids to a Catholic school they can expect a moral education as well as learning English and history and maths etc. It’s perfectly acceptable for the principal of a Catholic school to express Catholic views in a Catholic newsletter.

    “The irony of course should not be missed.

    Homosexual discussion inside a Catholic School.

    They have a history forever of covering up this stuff.

    Now whatch as Lucia and all those come along to defend their bogus company.”

    Oh cut the bigoted crap, I’m tired of the nonsense that Catholics have to endure on here and I’m not even Catholic.

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  24. simonway (387 comments) says:

    In what way did he ‘support’ the protest?

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  25. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    The principal is not actually the teacher’s employer. The Board of Trustees is his employer and that is why it took a meeting by them to decide to fire him. Also he didn’t actually take part in any protest, he was fired for supporting students voicing their concerns. This is the problem with having integrated schools getting state money to promote sectarian views. I’d have no problem with a private school sacking a teacher for doing this, but a state school should not be able to act this way. Religious schools should be cut loose from the state system and let them compete in the free market like all the other private schools.

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  26. bc (1,367 comments) says:

    Also, I see the teacher continues to tutor his ex-senior students because he is worried about the effect of his not being at school will have on the students doing well in the NCEA exams. What’s the bet, he is doing this for free.
    The principal is an idiot (and the Board) for getting rid of him.
    Not to worry, I would imagine that the teacher won’t stay unemployed for long. Another school will employ him for sure, and it will be their gain and Pompallier Catholic College’s loss.

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  27. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    kowtow (2,934) Says:
    September 22nd, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    V2

    We’ll defend ours,that’s called freedom of conscience….

    you keep defending your fat German,ya vol! After all we do live in a free society,nice.

    Aha, but you didn’t defend anyone nor did you defend any principle as such that rational people would beleive, you nearly continued with your repression of a persons right to their own opinion and their right’s of assocition.
    Is that now Official Catholic Policy is it?

    It has been for years of course over peadophile issues both male and female. More of the same.

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  28. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    Aredhel777 (202) Says:
    September 22nd, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Well, it is a Catholic school and Catholics believe very strongly in stuff like the fact that homosexuality is wrong.
    ——
    Really, tell us all when that policy started.

    When people send their kids to a Catholic school they can expect a moral education as well as learning English and history and maths etc. It’s perfectly acceptable for the principal of a Catholic school to express Catholic views in a Catholic newsletter.
    ——-
    Which or rather who’s set of morals are we talking about?

    Oh cut the bigoted crap, I’m tired of the nonsense that Catholics have to endure on here and I’m not even Catholic.
    —-
    Well I can’t be bothered with reading the crap spouted by some over other subjects either but seeing as its not my blog I just don’t read it. Called freedom of choice. Something that this very subject was about.
    Dipshit.

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  29. kowtow (8,512 comments) says:

    V2

    Freedom of choice,exactly and personal responsibility.

    The sacked teacher chose to teach at a Catholic school and would have been well aware of his responsibilities and consequences of any of his actions there in.

    The principal is free to express is views in a newslettr ,the teacher is free to express his views,but in a work environment there are consequences to so publicly opposing and protesting the official line .

    I think Aredhe’s comments were spot on and you V2 are the dipshit as you so inelegantly put it.Or as our host says “idiot”.

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  30. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    “…..Religious schools should be cut loose from the state system and let them compete in the free market like all the other private schools…..”

    Agree with that.

    And if the state does not want to fund the curriculum being taught – then the private schools HAVE THE RIGHT not to teach the curriculum.

    Out goes PC. Moral and cultural relevance. Tolerance. Gay nonsense. Femenist nonsense. Socialiam. GreenDreams. Atheism and lastly – BIG FUCKEN GOVERNMENT! :cool:

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  31. MH (762 comments) says:

    next years enrollments will probably increase. Perhaps he should have made his heartfelt views known when he applied for the job at a Left Footer school. Deceitful and undermining. Like to see him teach at a Muzlin Cloth school in Auckland.

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  32. Fletch (6,407 comments) says:

    Well, it is a Catholic school and Catholics believe very strongly in stuff like the fact that homosexuality is wrong.
    ——
    Really, tell us all when that policy started.

    Um, since Bible times?

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  33. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    I just cannot beleive there are so many uneducated or perhaps blind people. People blind to the real truth.

    The sacked teacher chose to teach at a Catholic school and would have been well aware of his responsibilities and consequences of any of his actions there in.

    Yes he did and unless he has an employment contract that expressely forbids him from expressing his view and support of others then the school has broken the Law. Nothing else counts in employment.
    That his view was different to the Boss reinforces his rights to that contract.

    The principal is free to express is views in a newslettr ,the teacher is free to express his views,but in a work environment there are consequences to so publicly opposing and protesting the official line .

    As I said the Employment contract is the determiner of the rights. It would seem to me to be an oppressive contract if it did contain clauses that prohibited what he is accussed of, however, if it did and he agreed, then the contract stands. If it didn’t then he has been wrongfully dismmissed for having a different opinion to others.

    Its clear that he wasn’t making a statement on behalf of the school so there really is no conflict except with some Authoritarian boss.

    I know it happens in your favourite national party as well but that don’t make it right.

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  34. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    This, seems to me, is a contractual matter.

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  35. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    Yes it’s a shame the nats don’t fire all the labour supporters they’ve appointed to cabinet.

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  36. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    [DPF: You're an idiot. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. If you work for say Telecom, and then joined a protest march saying the Telecom CEO should resign, you'd be outski. An employee has an obligation of loyalty to an employer]

    Thankyou. Your comment above is quite out of context.
    The teacher didn’t attack the school nor the principal, didn’t march up and down the street calling for him to resign, simply expressed a contrary view along, with some of the schools paying customers, which the Headmaster didn’t agree with.
    That’s life and normal.

    As you said ”
    I think the principal was unwise to write comments on a non-educational issue on the school newsletter. And good on the students for expressing their views via a protest.’

    Quite right. He is doing what teachers always seen to want to do. Batter others with their beleif’s. Good lord we see this said so many times on KB. Teachers are blamed for all the progressive, leftwing etc teaching that is being instilled in our kids.(well probably true and that’s all this Headmaster was doing.

    An employee has an obligation of loyalty to an employer]

    That loyalty is to doing his/her job as required but doesn’t extend to total silence. Loyalty in not all encompassing.

    We do have a Law that allows people to expose wrong doing on the part of others. That whistleblower law protects that person.

    Unless there is a clear written policy in place that is included as part of an employment contract that specifically says the person cannot hold and express different views then your case fails in Law as it should.
    Its not as if the person has been a poor performer (or at least that’s not the reason given for terminating his contract), mearly that he held and expressed a different view to the headmaster and supported others, including some of the fee paying parents and pupils.

    If he is being sacked for that then the Teachers Union should go to town in the employment court.

    ” But he did make a serious error of judgement in supporting a student protest against the principal.”

    “I don’t recall reading anywhere where the pupils protested against the principal.” They didn’t ask for him to resign, they didn’t beat him up.
    Remember you said, “And good on the students for expressing their views via a protest.”

    They protested his attitude and his views as is their right to do.
    Pupils do this everyday. So what.

    In this case the consequences well outweigh the crime.

    There are thousands of people who have marched demanding CEO’s and MP’s get sacked who revert to their normal when the shouting is all over. I’m sure that you have done stuff like that but in most cases CEO’s have bigger minds and less ego than this Headmaster. I’ve seen CEO’s and their helpers go hammer and tongs at the negotiating table with union people with all sorts of things said but once the thing is sorted they go and play golf together. Its the small minded that cannot tolerate another view.

    Of course we don’t have all the facts do we?

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  37. Liberal Minded Kiwi (1,571 comments) says:

    No Fletch no. Since bible times isn’t too specific. What year or decade can you provide for these “bible times”?
    Considering homosexuality has been found in human & animal life since evolution you’ll need to find a better argument than that.

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  38. Couchpotatoe (35 comments) says:

    What this decision shows is how out of touch the Left Footers are. A prime example of how redundant the Catholic Church and conservative Christianity is in terms of community concerns or mores.

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  39. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    I would not normally defend Viking2, but I will in this instance.

    Are you suggesting, DPF, that the NZBORA and Human Rights Act provisions re unlawful discrimination and freedom of speexh (which you normally stand up for) are subservient to the common law provisions regarding the ability of a Master to dismiss his Servant?

    Somehow, I don’t think that is the case any more, and I hope Nigel Studdart successfully sues the arse off the bigoted Richard Stanton and Pompellier College.

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  40. Viking2 (11,484 comments) says:

    toad. I’m Honoured. You should take more lead from me. We could make this country a much better place.

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  41. Kevin (1,122 comments) says:

    Oorrr I like Internet love affairs

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  42. ChardonnayGuy (1,207 comments) says:

    One thought about this that occurs to me- Mr Stoddart could easily claim political opinion discrimination and take the case to the Human Rights Commission against Pompallier. One hopes that he does do so.

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