25 Feb 2013

Principal in Parker case fighting dismissal

7:22 pm on 25 February 2013

The principal of a Far North school where a teacher abused young boys is fighting a decision to sack him.

Stephen Hovell has been on leave from Pamapuria School since August, when a commissioner took over.

Lawyer Bryce Quarrie says he will file proceedings at the Employment Relations Authority on Monday for an urgent appeal.

Former deputy principal James Parker pleaded guilty last August to multiple charges of sexual assault and indecency. He remains in custody.

Parker admitted 49 charges of sexual offending against pupils and faces another 23 charges.

An inquiry by the Ministry of Education found Pamapuria School failed to protect pupils from Parker, despite a letter from police warning he should not be allowed to have boys to stay at his home.

Police and Child, Youth and Family warned Mr Hovell in 2009 that there were concerns about his colleague.

Mr Quarrie says his client's career should not be made another casualty of Parker.

He says neither the police nor CYF were able to take any action against Parker in 2009 because the boys involved retracted their complaints.

He will argue that Mr Hovell did all he legally and morally could to warn Parker off and that his dismissal is unfair and unjustified.

"The reality is Mr Hovell did have a serious and formal talk with Mr Parker about having children, pupils, at his home for overnight stays, after school and what have you, and gave him a very clear and direct instruction that that was not to take place."