21 Nov 2012

Principal claims board chair drove dismissal

5:50 pm on 21 November 2012

The former principal of Christchurch Girls High alleges that the catalyst for its board of trustees sacking her was her decision to stand down the chairperson's daughter.

Prue Taylor made the claim at an Employment Relations Authority hearing on Wednesday, where she asked for interim re-instatement.

Mrs Taylor is asking to be re-instated ahead of another hearing into whether her dismissal was unjustified.

Submissions from the board say her re-instatement would create a divisive and unworkable situation that would have far reaching ramifications for the stability of the school.

The board alleges undermining and arguably bullying behaviour by the former principal, with some feeling unsafe in her company and preferring not to meet with her alone.

Mrs Taylor's submissions say her dismissal was driven by the board chair, who has a personal dislike for her.

They say the catalyst for the sacking appears to be Mrs Taylor's decision to stand down the chairperson's daughter, along with 19 other students, for one day, with her dismissal following shortly afterwards.

The authority reserved its decision, and expects to release a decision within a few days.

About 50 people were at the Christchurch hearing, many of them supporters of Mrs Taylor.

The main hearing, where she will seek permanent re-instatement, has yet to be held.

Mrs Taylor's lawyer Richard Harrison says any return to the school would have to be managed so that it caused the minimum amount of disruption.