2 Apr 2015

Trustee, coaches quit after rowing spat

5:26 pm on 2 April 2015

A member of the St Bede's College board of trustees is the latest to resign in the wake of the controversy over the school's decision to ban two pupils from a rowing event.

Jack Bell (L) and Jordan Kennedy

Jack Bell (left) and Jordan Kennedy Photo: Facebook

The school's two rowing coaches today announced they were also stepping down.

Students Jordan Kennedy and Jack Bell triggered a security alert at Auckland Airport last month by riding a luggage conveyor, prompting the school to remove them from the Maadi Cup rowing team.

Their parents went to the High Court and were granted an interim injunction that allowed the teenagers to compete. The school and the parents yesterday announced no further legal action would take place.

Rowing head coach Alex Meates and under-17 and under-18 coach David Lindstrom, whose father started the school's rowing programme in 1956, are standing down at the end of the season.

Mr Lindstrom said the boys' actions were a harmless prank and the decision to send them home was an overreaction. He backed the boys' parents for taking legal action and said they did it for the sake of the team.

Alex Meates (left) and David Lindstrom.

Alex Meates (left) and David Lindstrom Photo: St Bede's College website

Sending the boys home would have resulted in four boys not being able to compete, he said, because they would not have had enough rowers to make up a team.

The controversy affected the performance of all the school's teams at the Maadi Cup, Mr Lindstrom said. The teams placed much lower than last year, despite going into the regatta with high expectations.

He said the school's rector Justin Boyle flew to the event to try to scratch the boys from the race himself.

He denied reports he was involved in a screaming match with Mr Boyle but admitted they were involved in what he described as a clear and concise discussion about the matter.

Mr Lindstrom has been a coach with the school for a total of 18 years and has twice rowed for New Zealand at the Olympics. He said his decision to stand down had not been taken lightly.

The school's troubles have continued today with the resignation of board member Stephen Spencer, who had a son on the rowing team.

He has been replaced on a temporary basis by public relations practitioner Tracey Chambers.

The school has declined to comment.