Computer porn case principal resigns

By Claire Trevett

A primary school principal allowed to keep his job after pornography was found on his computer has resigned.

Tim Jenkinson of Bayview School in Glenfield on Auckland's North Shore was given a written warning after adult pornography was found on his school computer during a system upgrade in July.

The school board yesterday said he had resigned, effective immediately.

Board spokesman Lance Hadley would not comment on the reasons for the resignation or the board's acceptance of it, saying it was an employment issue between the board and Mr Jenkinson.

Mr Jenkinson did not return calls yesterday. A message on the family's answerphone thanked those who had sent messages for their support.

Principals' Federation president Pat Newman said the federation could never support pornography in schools.

"But I am quite sad that a person who has given so much to education has, for whatever reasons, found it necessary to resign."

National Party associate education spokesman Allan Peachey said Mr Jenkinson had lost community trust and the moral authority to run the school, so his only option was to resign.

"One of the realities of being a principal is you always put the interests of the school and the children first. By resigning, he has done that and that is to his credit."

He said he felt for Mr Jenkinson and his family, but a high moral standard was placed on principals, who had to make judgments on other people.

"You can't afford to have any question marks as to your ability to do that. That is one of the standards imposed on principals."

Mr Jenkinson's resignation came two days after the trustees sent a notice to parents saying the board had investigated after the material was found in July and that the safety and wellbeing of children was not compromised.

The Herald understands Mr Jenkinson accepted responsibility for the pornography, and apologised to staff for letting them down.

But his wife, Vicki, told the Herald her husband did not remember the pornography and was getting pastoral, medical and psychiatric help.

Parents were split over whether Mr Jenkinson should have stayed in his the job.

Jaki Recchia said she was pleased she did not have to worry about pornography in the school, and hoped Mr Jenkinson and the school board would learn from the incident.

"Their decision to keep such important information a secret from the parents of children at the school, in my opinion, was completely wrong and didn't allow me to exercise my parental rights and make an informed decision as to the welfare of my child."

Another parent, who did not want to be named, said Mr Jenkinson should go.

"In trying to hide his mistake, he has publicly undermined the school's reputation for excellence, which ironically was due to a large degree to Mr Jenkinson's input."

Mr Hadley said parents were not initially told because it was an employment relationship issue between the board as an employer and Mr Jenkinson as an employee.

He said the board had taken appropriate action after considering all the facts and the advice received when it decided to issue the written warning.

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