Letter to the Editor of The Sunday Age

29-SEP-2016

Dear Sir

I was disappointed to read the story of Sally Beattie and her experiences working with Catholic Education Melbourne (The Sunday Age, 25 September). In reviewing Ms Beattie’s file, at the time of her exit, she gave no indication of her discomfort at working here.

We always seek to support our staff in every aspect of their lives, be it professional or personal.

It is unfortunate that Ms Beattie did not feel she could share her concerns with staff here but understand that can be difficult and so we provide access to a free, anonymous employee assistance program to support members of our team who are dealing with challenging or confronting circumstances.

I was disappointed that The Sunday Age did not see fit to approach Catholic Education Melbourne for comment on what is a complex and sensitive matter.

We believe all people deserve inherent human dignity as beings created in God’s image. Catholic schools routinely implement extensive programming designed to protect all people against bullying, regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation.

At the same time we also firmly believe the right to freedom of religion inherently includes the right for parents to have their children educated in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The principles, values and beliefs that form the culture of our schools do not disappear when the bell rings, but are an inherent part of the fabric of school life.

That is why it is so important that Catholic and other faith-based schools have the freedom to employ staff who support their ethos – and why we believe the amendments to the equal opportunity laws currently before state parliament are fundamentally misguided.

Yours faithfully

Stephen Elder
Executive Director
Catholic Education Melbourne