Sacked principal's job still uncertain
Sat, 24 Nov 2012 6:19p.m.
By Jessica Rowe
The sacked principal of Christchurch Girls High has been given her job back for now.
The Employment Relations Authority found the dismissal of Prue Taylor may have been unjustified, but the School Board still doesn't want her back.
But she can finally return to work after enduring what she calls a “witch hunt”.
“[I am] delighted, very pleased,” she says. “[It is] a great sense of a relief. You never can be sure how things will work out.”
The board sacked Ms Taylor earlier this month, alleging "deep seated, irreconcilable differences" between Ms Taylor and senior managers. But the Employment Relations Authority found no evidence of unprofessional behaviour.
Ms Taylor says she was sacked not long after taking a disciplinary action against the chairman of the board's daughter.
“I haven't fiddled the books,” says Ms Taylor. “I haven't assaulted anybody. I haven't done anything that others get dismissed for. It's just a range of allegations.”
Mr Taylor's students have made her a quilt to let her know they're on her side.
“A ship without its captain,” it reads, “is like a bird without wings. We will all miss you Miss Taylor. You are great captain.”
“Everyone has a high respect for her and they all think she is a great principal and were very disappointed by the way she was dismissed,” says student Clara Todd.
“From what I’ve heard all the teachers want her back, and also all the girls want her back,” says student Zoe Smith. “I'm part of a Facebook group that has 800 members.”
Concerned parents have formed a group to question the School Board's role in the dismissal.
“I think Miss Taylor has a very strong case,” says parent Catherine Hurley. “She should have never been dismissed.”
But the board has argued Ms Taylor's reinstatement would cause staff to leave because of stress.
“That's conjecture,” says Ms Taylor. “The majority of the staff have been totally in support of me.”
Ms Taylor is hoping to start back at school next month. Whether she's back for good will be decided at a hearing in February.
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27/11/2012 7:42:17 p.m.
andrew smith wrote:
@RUZ. Fair enough what you have written...Unfortunately, I do think there is reasonable evidence that a strong, influential leader can create an environment whereby members of a board will go along with what they are saying..kind of like sheep as you have written. Alternatively, groups of people can sometimes feed off each other collectively and come up with bad ideas without thinking about things.. it seems to happen all too frequently (the global financial crisis, communism, nazism, rugby league are all example of bad ideas that noone successfully challenged initially).
I think this case may illustrate the limitations of the board of trustee system whereby we are entrusting part of the management of a school to a group of people many of whom may have a limited level of management or teaching experience. I guess the advantage of schools being managed in a more bureaucratic fashion i.e. by a government department, is at least they would usually follow a due process in terms of hiring and firing.
26/11/2012 8:29:59 p.m.
@AndrewSmith. The decision to sack Taylor was a Board one and the principle of collective responsibility prevails. It may be that the Board chair unduly influenced the outcome but in the end the members are not sheep (could be open to debate) and could have easily voted against any sacking resolution. To my knowledge no Board member spoke out against the decision to remove Taylor once again on the basis of majority decisions and collective responsibility. If the Board is found to be wrong in sacking Taylor then all members must go and a Commissioner appointed by the Government between now and the next round of trustee elections (2013). But first we must wait till February.
26/11/2012 11:38:07 a.m.
Obviously,some of the board should resign . Seems to me that their was no clear evidence of misbehaviour by Prue Taylor aside from disciplining the chairman of the boards daughter.
The argument that her returning will cause stress for the people involved in her sacking is largely irrelevant.Their role is to engage with a variety of stakeholders, and you can't just sack someone who disagrees with you without clear evidence of poor performance or misbehaviour. As a principal, conflict with some teachers and parents is inevitable and there is always going to be factions forming within a board. If a faction turns on the principal, I still think they should have evidence of poor performance affecting students as a reason to dismiss her rather than their quest to increase their own power base.
As an aside, hopefully James Margaritis will be ostracised a bit by people in christchurch. He hasn't come out of this looking very good. He may be a bit deluded as to how nice a girl his daughter is. I heard she is pretty familiar with the first fifteen's of christchurch boys high school, christ's college, burnside high school, lincoln high etc. etc.
25/11/2012 12:10:01 p.m.
This is not looking good for the Board. If the interim determintaion by the court becomes final in Febraury then the Board will need to resign en masse.
25/11/2012 11:02:01 a.m.
Get rid of the chairman!!!!!!!!!!!
25/11/2012 9:42:46 a.m.
Fire the Board. I worked at a High school for fifteen years and have seen this type of thing happen.
24/11/2012 7:18:44 p.m.
I've seen situations before where a board of trustee member is protecting a family member going to the school. The principal can find themselves in a situation where if they discipline the family member, the board member gets upset. If they don't discipline the family member, the principal can be accused of not doing their job properly. It's a lose-lose situation.
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