Setting a poor example
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I think the principal of Hampton High School showed poor judgment in prioritising attendance at the bail hearing of a 64-year-old pastor charged with having sex with a 15-year-old girl, over remaining on the campus of the school and attending to the business of leadership, protection and guidance of the girls there, the majority of whom actually reside on campus.
Hampton's public brand is a school producing academically sound girls who have attributes of decorum, independence, a sense of community, respect for self and social institutions. I fear this brand has been negatively impacted by the principal's attendance at the bail hearing.
The court-attending public can usually be divided into three groups - those supporting the accused and hoping for an acquittal; the victim's family hoping for conviction; and those who simply attend court for the sport/drama of it. To which group should we assume the principal belongs?
The principal chose to ignore the fact that the pastor was immediately suspended by the Moravian Church upon his arrest.
ULTIMATE AUTHORITY FIGURE
I attended an all-girls' boarding school and the headmistress, as we used to say then, is the ultimate authority figure on campus. The headmistress in a girls' boarding school is usually the subject of much discussion by the girls who usually admire her, love her, respect her and fear her (even when they give her a nickname, of which the headmistress is often unaware). The headmistress is often the girls' first experience of female executive leadership. She sets the tone for morality, personal conduct and academic performance; and she is a 24/7 presence in the life of boarders, a very influential figure in their lives.
The girls, especially the boarders, look to the headmistress as a parental figure from whom they receive moral guidance.
Against this background, it ought to be clear that the principal of Hampton made a grave error in judgement.