Teacher censured for letters painting principal as 'racist'

By Liz Wylie -

A Whanganui teacher has been censured for serious misconduct.

Karl-John Allen was a teacher at Whanganui High School in October 2014 when he sent a letter which described the school principal as "someone who discriminates" and implied the principal was "bigoted and racist", according to the teachers' Disciplinary Tribunal.

The tribunal's findings have been released in a report which says Mr Allen's letter went out to 28 people, including senior school leaders, the PPTA union, Maori staff and local iwi.

The letter followed a disagreement between Mr Allen and principal Garry Olver in the school staffroom in September which had not been resolved.

Mr Allen had taken sick leave due to stress and informed the principal that he would be addressing his concerns in writing and that he felt "culturally unsafe" in meeting the principal.

School facilities were used to print copies of letters, although Mr Allen had advised that he was taking stress leave.

According to the charge laid against Mr Allen, the letter was critical of Mr Olver and used "inflammatory, offensive, and disrespectful" language.

It described the principal as someone who "discriminates, is prejudiced, segregating, and silencing" and implied the principal "was "bigoted and racist" and was prepared to sacrifice Maori interests.

The tribunal report said the letter also linked the principal "with apartheid", and accused him of prioritising self-interest to further his career and not being "committed to the best interests of Whanganui".

Mr Allen resigned from the school in February 2015 after working there since 2009. He now teaches at Ruapehu College.

The matter was investigated by the the Complaints Assessment Committee and the report says Mr Allen admitted the charge and accepted his behaviour amounted to misconduct.

The committee said that in view of Mr Allen taking responsibility for his misconduct, the only penalty required was censure. He was also required to pay some of the tribunal costs.

Whanganui High School staff and its board of trustees were not willing to comment on the decision yesterday and Mr Allen also did not wish to comment.

For more articles from this region, go to

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 28 Oct 2016 07:44:42 Processing Time: 470ms