Wednesday, December 09, 2009

All state integrated schools must obey the law

Last night, Campbell Live had a story about a girl that got kicked out of school because she had a baby, while her boyfriend, whom she is engaged to, was defrocked from his position as 2010 deputy head boy.

The school, Evangelical Rangiora New Life School, is a christian school, and has certain beliefs about sex, swearing, alcohol and the like. But it is also a state-integrated school, and receives the same Government funding for each student as state schools but their buildings and land are privately owned so they charge attendance dues to meet their property costs.

The schools handbook has no mention of policies on sex, although swearing and alcohol are forbidden in school grounds, as are piercings for males. As No Right Turn correctly states the school has can discriminate on the basis of religious belief, but not on the basis of family status.

But it is unclear whether the school is discriminating on the basis of family status, or whether they are discriminating on the basis that certain views on sex before marriage conflict with religious beliefs, therefore condoning such discrimination, as the school won't talk to the media. Whatever, the law is clear. The schools board can't be punitive and expel kids and because their christian principles do not agree with kids having sex.

Although the school won't want to be dictated to, it should be told in no uncertain terms what its legal obligations are under the Bill of Rights. To address the legal breach, it should welcome the expelled student back to school and reinstate the boy as the deputy head for 2010. Given that the school board of trustees apparently knew that the boy was about to be a father when they discussed his selection as deputy head boy, it may well explain its christian principles in its sudden U-turn with no additional information.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It all seems iffy to me, unless this is the way you are slanting it?

I remember at Scots here in Wellington, a pupil wanted to mark Movember (either hair or mustache) but it was against the dress rules.

Rightly the school said no way hose and comply.
The parents wrote a snitty letter to the paper but the school stayed staunch, which I replied too.

I said at the time WTF, where are you're brains, you agreed to the rules when you signed the forms? Duh!

Now I ask the same question, but in a different way as you posit that they are a Christian school?

So what is the schools special character?

How would that work out in the light of the mores and norms for the Christian message/lifestyle Dave ;-)?

I know the scriptures and the import of them on this issue as do you :-)

However what does it mean to be this particular type of school?
And more importantly what is the schools special character?

You rightly bring up the timeline for choosing him as deputy head.
But did the Board KNOW about his transgression or was it all still on the grapevine as these things can be?

As a board member I would NEVER have put him into a position of leadership so soon after falling over morally, full stop.
One, that is NOT the example I would want to lead with nor condone by doing so?

But that's me.

December 9, 2009 at 7:04 PM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Place doesn't seem to have much room for grace and forgiveness. Is it a Christian school or a Levitican school?

December 9, 2009 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger Madeleine said...

The school makes it clear on its website that it is a conservative, evangelical school. If I was considering it for my kids I'd be under no illusions as to the sorts of values and behaviours it would expect from its students.

The bible is very clear that those in leadership must be people whose lives exemplify Christian living. This does not mean that they must be perfect or that they must have led perfect lives; simply that any mistakes they have made they have turned away from and learned from and worked on. A leader sets an example so has to be of exemplary character.

Given these factors and its special character status, the school is right to have concerns about holding up as leaders students who are sexually active. (NOTE I am not commenting on the process the school adopted)

The state must try to be neutral as to the various beliefs that exist in society. Adopting, enforcing or imposing secularism is not neutral.

No Right Turn's Idiot/Savant lives up to the former part of his name when he states that the school has an exemption for discrimination on the grounds of religious belief but not on the basis of marital or family status. Perhaps someone should tell him what religious beliefs commonly hold to with regards marital and family status.

There is a solution to this problem; don't state fund schools. Let schools form and be set up around whatever beliefs they want to and let parents freely decide which ones they send their kids to. Insisting that all publicly funded schools adhere to one belief system within society when all in society fund them is a far bigger discrimination and violation of human rights than issue is.

December 10, 2009 at 4:55 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Adolf wrotePlace doesn't seem to have much room for grace and forgiveness. Is it a Christian school or a Levitican school?

Its always amusing when people write comments like this given that (a)forgiveness and atonement is actually a central theme of the bookd of leviticus (b) the notion that premartial sex is wrong is not actually mentioned in Leviticus, its condemned in Deuteronomy, Exodus and infered from the NT teaching of Paul and Jesus

But hey why actually inform yourself before you comment on evangelicals beliefs and practises.

December 11, 2009 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Swimming said...

Sorry, I don't quite quite see the point of your question, Adolf.

Madelene, I'm sure the school has the right to uphold morals on sexual activity - not so sure that these morals require expulsion consequent to sexual activity outside the school grounds, any more than, for example, blasphemy spoken outside the school grounds. This expulsion can only be either unlawful discrimination, lawful discrimination, or no discrimination. Which is it?

December 13, 2009 at 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Student at the school said...

I go to the school in question, and the problem was that the Princepal, greg, appointed ollie as head boy, but forgot to tell the BOT, so when the BOT heard about it, they revoked his title, not the princepal.
also, she chose to leave, was not expelled,and is now at school (well, not excactly a school) close to her home, that is more able to supports her with her child..

December 21, 2009 at 2:02 AM  
Anonymous Student at the school said...

And also, the BOT, (who includes sara's dad)revoked it becuse he did not uphold it's Special charecter, (and under new zealand law, they're exempt from religious discrimintation laws) which is ntheir job and is laid out in the charter

December 21, 2009 at 2:06 AM  

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