26 September 2018
LAWYERS representing parents and guardians with children at St John’s College yesterday demanded the immediate resignation of board members after one of their teachers went public about his sexuality.
The teacher, Dr Neil Hovelmeir, has since torched a storm after he got the backing of the school’s board to announce his sexuality as a gay during the school assembly last week.
In a letter copied to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Sande Legal Practice lawyers noted that the teacher’s conduct was not in contrary to the founding principles of the institution which is Christian based.
“We act for and on behalf of our parents and guardians at your institution, kindly note our interest here in.
“We are advised that on or around 20th of September your headmaster called for an emergency assembly for students wherein he addressed the students and advised them that of the sexual preference and or orientation of your staff member a one Doctor Neil Hovelmeir.
“We are further advised that after the said assembly your board further caused this statement to be published and or distributed making public the sexual orientation of your staff member,” reads part of the letter.
In the same letter, the lawyers also indicated that that Dr Hoveimeir’s conduct was in bad taste and wrong.
“Further clients aver that the pronouncement that the announcement of an individual sexual preferences was immature, irresponsible and places numerous burdens on the school, parents and community at large.
“Such an expression has not place whatsoever in a school environment where there are minors, who look up to your staff as their life role models as they exercise their role in loco parentis.”
The lawyers also demanded an independent enquiry to be appointed by the education chiefs to address the matter.
“By copy of this letter, clients request inter alia an immediate retraction of the said statement or expression, resignation of board members and an independent enquiry appointed through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education within seven days of receipt of this letter failure of which we shall on the behest of our clients approach the High Court as the upper Guardian of minors without notice to yourselves costs of suits to be on your account.”
Prior to the parents seeking legal recourse, a meeting was convened early this week between parents and the school board.
It is said, Dr Novelmeier got the backing of the school’s headmaster, Cavaliere Corrado, deputy headmaster Andrew Sakala and Charles N. Msipa, the chairman of the school’s board of governors after he went public.
As of yesterday, the situation was still tense at the school with some parents threatening to transfer their children.
Others wanted a further probe to find whether there were no victims of sexual assault over the years.