King’s board backs rector over cannabis post

Rector Nick McIvor. Photo: ODT files
Rector Nick McIvor. Photo: ODT files
The King’s High School board of trustees is backing the school’s rector over comments he made about the upcoming cannabis referendum.

Rector Nick McIvor used the school’s Facebook page last week to express concern about the effect of cannabis on young people and the possibility the drug could be legalised.

His post attracted hundreds of comments - some in support and others questioning his right to make political comment - but board chairman Richard Wingham said raising the issue was appropriate.

"As a school, we are always committed to meeting our legal obligations, including those relating to our school maintaining political neutrality," Mr Wingham wrote in this week’s school newsletter.

"Over recent days we have held discussions with the Ministry of Education and New Zealand School Trustees Association to ensure that both the board and rector are acting in line with the ministry’s expectations for schools and complying with all legislation."

The board was required to be politically neutral.

"However, as the referendum is not a party political matter and the rector is sufficiently removed from ministers and policy, individuals are able to express their views on issues where people are left to make their own decisions."

Mr Wingham said Mr McIvor had always spoken from the heart when it came to protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of young people and helping them reach their potential.

"We know he feels a personal responsibility to share his views about cannabis use by young people, to encourage our community to seek more information to fully understand the different arguments."

Mr Wingham said the board believed possible change to cannabis law was an important social issue and it was appropriate for the rector to raise it.

grant.miller@odt.co.nz

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