Nigel Studdart was dismissed from his position as teacher at Pompallier College for supporting his students right to protest a position taken by the college principal, Richard Stanton. Mr Stanton's comments, published in a school newsletter, were inappropriate and deemed offensive by teachers, parents and student alike. Students elected to protest their principal's comments and in this Nigel gave his support. Nigel's actions were responsible and appropriate for an educator. As a teacher and a community leader, he should be expected to encourage individuality of thought and freedom of expression as well as the right of an individual (or group of individuals) to protest, especially when such protest is benign and passive. But for taking the position he did, Nigel was dismissed by the Pompallier College Board of Trustees, ostensibly for bringing the college into disrepute.
The bullying attitude of the Principal and the Board of Trustees in response to the students' protest and Nigel's support for them, represents all that we wish to exclude from our society. Religious ideals are a matter for individual reflection. They should stand or fall on their own integrity and values. Religious dogma, especially when that dogma embraces prejudice and bigotry, is not acceptable from any educational institution in our secular society.
Demand the Pompallier Catholic College Board of Trustees reinstate Nigel Studdart immediately, recognise his courage and moral integrity in supporting his students, apologise unconditionally for their actions and reimburse him for lost salary in the period he has been laid off.
- Board of Trustees, Pompallier Catholic College, Whangarei, New Zealand
The supporters of this petition demand your Board reinstate Nigel Studdart to his teaching position immediately and that the Board make an unconditional apology for its action in dismissing him unfairly. Further, we, the supporters of Nigel Studdart, demand he be reimbursed all salary lost during the period he has been unfairly laid off.
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