Student in hair row barred from rugby match

By Doug Laing

31 comments
Lucan Battison. Photo / APN
Lucan Battison. Photo / APN

A Hastings student awaiting a High Court decision on his long-hair suspension has been barred from playing rugby at the school - despite a judge urging his school to take no further disciplinary action pending a decision in the High Court.

Hawke's Bay Today understands St John's College student Lucan Battison, 16, was prevented from playing for the college's 1st XV this weekend after returning to school on Wednesday.

Lucan's family challenged the school's decision to suspend him for refusing to cut his hair and took the case to the High Court in Wellington earlier this week.

School principal Paul Melloy was not commenting yesterday, staff said, nor was the teen's family or lawyer, Jol Bates. The school's board chairman and its Auckland lawyer, Richard Harrison, were unable to be contacted.

If such a ban was enforced it would potentially conflict with an agreement the school made through Mr Harrison during the High Court judicial review.

The school had agreed to have the student back without repercussions pending the decision of Justice David Collins, expected next Friday.

Well-known psychologist Nigel Latta earlier posted on his Facebook page that he was "appalled" at the family's decision to take the case to court. "It seems clear from the newspaper reports that, despite the family's lawyer presenting the young man as somehow being a human rights crusader on a par with historical figures like Martin Luther King, the young person in question doesn't see himself like that," he wrote.

"The boy's father [Troy Battison] is quoted as saying 'it was about Lucan's right to express himself'. In my opinion it wasn't about that at all. It was about that individual father's total loss of perspective. This court action is, in my view, completely irresponsible, and may end up hurting us all.

"If we expect schools to look after our children then we need to support them and we need to make sure our children follow the school rules ... even the ones we may not necessarily like.

"Giving your kids the message that they only need to obey the school rules they like is dumb ... teachers should be in classrooms, not courtrooms."

What do you think?

Email letters@hbtoday.co.nz or write a letter to PO Box 180, Hasting, 4122

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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