Canterbury school target of anti-vaccine protest

Protest organiser Paul Hill says vaccine mandates are unfairly pushing people out of their jobs....
Protest organiser Paul Hill says vaccine mandates are unfairly pushing people out of their jobs. Photo: Selwyn Times
Rolleston College became the target of a protest last week from residents losing their jobs after refusing the Covid vaccination.

A handful of people stood with signs outside Rolleston College on Wednesday morning last week in support of three unvaccinated teachers they believe are at risk of also losing their jobs.

Merv Jones. Photo: Selwyn Times
Merv Jones. Photo: Selwyn Times
However, Rolleston College says it has not terminated the employment of any staff members in relation to the vaccination mandates, which deem that education and health workers must have had their first dose by November 15.

In an open letter to the college, parent and protest organiser, Paul Hill, accused the school of having no kindness or concern for the teachers.

"No aroha, they were just shunned without comment or notice."

The protest was organised to reinforce the message in the letter, signed by more than 30 people.

School principal Rachel Skelton and board of trustees chairwoman Lynley Shaw said in a statement they felt it was "inappropriate and disrespectful" to comment on employment matters.

However, the college had not terminated any staff members' jobs.

It supported its staff and learners "through what has been a very difficult year for everyone".

In spite of the small number at the protest on Springston Rolleston Rd, there was plenty of noise as passing motorists on the busy road tooted car horns.

"Going by the numbers of toots, waves and yells of support, we believe there is more people questioning what they are seeing . . . and why they have to lose their job when they are healthy," Hill said.

Protestors lined up outside Rolleston College. Photo: Selwyn Times
Protestors lined up outside Rolleston College. Photo: Selwyn Times
He was able to keep his job as he was a self-employed business operator.

However, he had resigned from his role as programmes manager for the Selwyn Hawks basketball club, as he would not be allowed in to the club’s Selwyn District Council-run venue.

He had decided not to get the jab because he had not seen any evidence that it was the right approach.

Fellow protestor Merv Johns, 66, said he had lost his job of two years last month as a school bus driver due to the mandate.

"It’s pretty disappointing. I did like my job, and I liked my kids," Johns said.

He says he is not anti-vax, but “anti this vax.”

Rolleston parent Rebecca Russell expected to lose her job in the disability sector, caring for a teenage boy in her own home.

The Pfizer jab is an mRNA vaccine, and she is also wary of the Astrazeneca vaccine.

Terry Anderson, 65. Photo: Selwyn Times
Terry Anderson, 65. Photo: Selwyn Times
Terry Anderson said he had lost his job after seven years as a school caretaker in Christchurch because he would not get vaccinated.

"I believe there are alternatives to the vaccine that people are not being told about," he said.

A former supermarket worker was also at the protest.

She lost her job the day before.

She had an auto-immune disease, which gave her a high chance of an adverse health reaction to getting the jab.

"I loved my job, it’s very sad, I knew it was coming," she said.

Rebecca Russell, of Rolleston. Photo: Selwyn Times
Rebecca Russell, of Rolleston. Photo: Selwyn Times

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