Mediation over teacher's sacking 'successful'

By Mike Dinsdale


Mediation between a Whangarei teacher - sacked for speaking out against what he called discriminatory comments by the principal of a Catholic school over gay marriage - and the school's board of trustees has concluded.

However, the teacher, Nigel Studdart, and the school, Pompallier Catholic College, have not commented further, other than saying the mediation had been successful and both parties had agreed to move forward.

Mr Studdart was dismissed in September three weeks after he was suspended for speaking out against what he called discriminatory comments by the Catholic college principal, Richard Stanton.

He was stood down the same day some students planned a silent protest against Mr Stanton's comments in the school newsletter opposing the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill.

In the newsletter article Mr Stanton's comments included concern that gay married parents might subsequently view children as a right, and not a gift from God.

He said he was opposed to the bill on religious and educational reasons, and said that he was not anti-gay, but he was against changing the definition of marriage.

"My religious objection is aligned with Church doctrine on marriage being a sacrament and open to new life. My objection as an educator comes from my personal and professional experience within secondary schools," Mr Stanton said at the time.

The case and subsequent suspension made headlines and support for Mr Studdart's stance in speaking out against the principal's views drew support.

A petition after Mr Studdart was suspended - Support Gay Rights at Pompallier College - is still getting people signing up from around the world.

- Northern Advocate

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