The principal of the Eurobodalla Shire’s only Anglican school has refused to back principals who want the right to sack gay teachers from religious schools, labelling the push “misguided”.
St Peter’s Anglican College Broulee principal Darren McPartland has distanced the college from the controversy embroiling the Sydney Diocese and South Coast.
He said the Broulee college was within the more “moderate” Canberra Goulburn Diocese.
More than 30 principals, including the principals of the Illawarra Grammar School, Shellharbour Anglican College and Nowra Anglican College, have signed a letter urging federal MPs to uphold exemptions that make it possible to dismiss gay teachers.
Mr McPartland said he was concerned the letter would cast a bad light on Anglican schools beyond Sydney and said diversity was celebrated at his college.
“We would celebrate diversity and be welcoming of all. I would not be a party to signing that document anyway,” Mr McPartland told the Bay Post/Moruya Examiner on Friday.
“The first point we’ve missed is that we are schools. Our main focus is the education of children, so we have to ensure that is our starting point.
“I think it is quite misplaced; the talk of possibly removing staff and students who are not of the sexual orientation the school would like, is wrong.”
Had a similar letter been circulated in the Canberra Goulburn Diocese, he would refuse to sign.
“I wouldn’t sign it. I don’t think the schools should be worrying about those affairs. I think they’re being a bit misguided,” he said.
Mr McPartland said gay students, teachers and parents would always be welcome at the college.
“We may or may not have some gay students; we certainly have some gay parents, but I think the fact we don’t know is key,” he said.
“For us, it’s not been an issue. The idea of schools doing anything to harm students is ridiculous. The goal to support students is one of our key goals pastorally.
“The religious aspect of the school is not such that it is number one in every thing that we can do. We are strong in the Anglican traditions of being open and welcoming of all.”