Louisa Wall Marriage equality bill author Louisa Wall says the sacking of a Catholic school teacher who supported students in a protest against their principal’s opposition to the law change is very disappointing. Popular science teacher Nigel Studdart has been sacked by Pompallier Catholic College’s Board of Trustees after supporting students who silently protested the principal’s column in a school newsletter railing against same-sex marriage. Louisa Wall says the fact that the principal is opposed and used the school newsletter as the vehicle to express those views shows a marked lack of understanding about what the bill is trying to achieve, pointing out it’s about equality and non-discrimination against two consenting citizens who want a license from the state to marry. “The principal's religious views on marriage are unaffected by the Bill and there should be some acknowledgement that the principal's personal actions have set off a chain reaction from students in the first instance that has then affected Nigel Studdart's career options as he stood in solitary with students,” she says. “This is particularly disappointing when his skills as a teacher are clearly excellent.” While she says there is some difference with the school being religious and of special character, “I don't think in these days of integrated schools and given this school does receive some form of state funding, that advocating against equality and non-discrimination and supporting discriminatory laws is what schools and a principal should be promoting.” She adds: “Obviously some of the school’s students agreed supported by their teacher.” Wall points out that the Charter and Strategic Plan of Pompallier Catholic College includes three Marist community values, the second of which is: "equity, justice and respect for all people's...". “Clearly the students from the school practice what Pompallier preaches and so did Mr Studdart,” she says.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Saturday, 22nd September 2012 - 8:30pm
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