From theÂ Courier Mail of BrisbaneÂ – yet another reason I admire Australia (by Esmerelda Weatherwax)
THE principal of a Christian College has come under fire for transferring two student teachers after they turned up for work dressed in traditional Muslim headwear.The two women, in their final year of a teaching degree, had started a work placement at Redlands College this year.
In a newsletter addressed to the school’s parents on Tuesday, principal Mark Bensley outlined his reasons for dismissing the pair, explaining he had acted out of a “duty of care”.
“I have a duty of care to ensure that those teaching at the College are actively supporting the Christian principles, practices and beliefs of the College,” he wrote.Â “I see the wearing of the hijab as openly acting in a manner that is contrary to or inconsistent with these principles, practices and beliefs.”
Please write MrÂ Mark BensleyÂ a note of support: Â Â firstname.lastname@example.org
Section 25 of theÂ Anti-Discrimination Act 1991Â allows employers to enforce a “genuine occupational requirement that workers act in a way that is consistent with the religious beliefs of the school”.Â According to Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson, Redlands College was within their rights to dismiss the two student teachers.
But that has done little to calm the Muslim community, with Islamic College of Brisbane principal Mubarak Noor disappointed by the news. “This is not good news, it’s a matter of concern to me,” he said.
The majority of the comments support the headmaster.