The chief of an elite all-girls Anglican school in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, has written a letter to parents defending the fact that they have gay teachers among the staff.
School Council chief Sally Herman, of the Kambala School in the city’s eastern suburb of Rose Bay, was moved to pen the letter after she received two letters of complaint from parents.
These had indicated that the hiring of gay teachers went against the school’s supposed ‘Christian values’.
Herman was having none of it.
The Letter, reprinted by Daily Mail Australia, says:
‘There is little to be gained by me choosing words that cushion the message, so I will be straightforward.
‘In recent days, two families have stridently expressed their displeasure at Kambala for, in their opinion, not living up to our Christian values by hiring and retaining teachers who are gay.
‘At the core of their displeasure is a concern that their daughters may be exposed to messages or values that they do not personally agree with.
‘Kambala does not discriminate, positively or negatively, when hiring staff. All staff, regardless of their role, are chosen on their merit, empathy and their commitment to supporting the Christian ethos of the school.
‘We are a school community whose composition reflects the diversity of the broader community that we serve.
‘Families and girls from many faiths, ethnicities, sexual orientations and political convictions proudly call Kambala, “my school”. We exist together as a community that wants to be defined more by how we care for each other than how we might discriminate.’
‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ 1 Corinthians 13
As a former pupil herself, she says she has fond memories of reciting the school lesson from 1 Corinthians 13: ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
‘At Kambala, love isn’t an optional extra.
‘We practice love even when it is hard to do. We take the command of Christ seriously when He said, “Love your neighbour as yourself”.’
The letter was praised by the school’s head teacher, Debra Kelliher, who told Wentworth Courier, ‘It’s about reminding people of our common humanity and that we are very much a contemporary, inclusive school and I hope the culture of our school reflects that.’
One of the parents to receive the letter was Woollahra councilor Susan Wynne, whose daughter attends Kambala.
‘I think the school’s response was fantastic and it’s made me proud to be part of that community and the girls have really rallied behind the fact that the school embraces inclusion and not discrimination.’
Today, to Australia’s Fairfax Media, Herman said that she was not surprised that the letter had met with support.
‘It is 2016. I think the response is not surprising.
‘It was a message of support for our teachers and our girls, and to reinforce what people know Kambala stands for.’