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NZ teacher aid's call to modesty backfires

A Wellington Catholic primary school principal has apologised to four 12-year-olds because a teacher aide called the girls "sluts" after they exposed their midriffs to sunbathe during a break.

Despite the apology, mothers of two of the pupils are unhappy with the handling of the matter by the school, St Francis de Sales in Wellington.

Carol Morgan and another mother who did not wish to be named wanted the teacher aide, Coll O'Connor, to apologise to the girls in front of the 18 students who heard the name-calling.

"The girls were humiliated publicly," said Morgan.

The school's board chairwoman, Karen Corban, said she was astounded by O'Connor's comments, but accepted her written apology, which she considered sufficient.

Corban said O'Connor was a Catholic and had a great reputation.

"I honest to God think we did a good job (dealing with the complaint)," said Corban.

O'Connor told the principal she used the word in the sense of the middle-ages usage - meaning a woman of dishevelled and unkempt appearance. She later agreed young girls would not have understood her meaning.

Calling pupils 'sluts' lands teacher aide in trouble (Sunday Star-Times/ 7/11/04)

9 Nov 2004