Saturday, November 24, 2012

Church take note

Our of our children is a student at Christchurch Girls High School. Recently and surprisingly it was announced - just a few days before nationwide senior school exams were to take place - that the principal, Prue Taylor has been sacked. A few details emerged about why, but they had a kind of general ring to them, "tension between her and senior staff/the Board", that kind of thing. Then we learned that Ms Taylor, popular with the pupils and parents, was resolved to fight the issue. A hearing for reinstatement was held recently and in this morning's paper it is front page news that she has been reinstated. Prize-giving on Monday evening 10 December will be very interesting indeed. And certainly embarrassing for the Board of Trustees and its chairman who look to be well off their game. Here is a key paragraph which, incidentally, I think the church at large needs to take note of:

"In his findings, authority member David Appleton said: "Having read carefully all of the material put before the authority, I am unable to identify a single specific incident that is alleged to have taken place in respect of which any of the three senior managers could reasonably (or at all) assert that Mrs Taylor has behaved unprofessionally towards them." [from]"

In the church we are often unhappy with someone - a slightly below par vicar, a Director of Education who is a bit boring, you know the score! That paragraph reminds us that we cannot move against someone in the employ of the church (and, yes, I use the word "employ" in the context of God's business deliberately) on a generalised basis of unhappiness. Our employment law requires that dismissals be fair and not constructed. If there is no single incident which specifically warrants discipline or even dismissal, then there can and should be no sackings. Rather, our laws, indeed our own church law ("Title D", look it up) requires that there be opportunity to remedy incompetency and to reconcile difference.

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