Calare principal issues apology for 'morons' and 'village idiots' comments

UNDER FIRE: Calare Public School principal Chris Cundy.

UNDER FIRE: Calare Public School principal Chris Cundy.

THURSDAY, 3.30PM:

THE Principal of Calare Public School Chris Cundy has apologised for calling his students "morons" and "village idiots" in a staff newsletter, admitting his attempt at humour was "misguided and inappropriate".

In the letter, to be sent home to parents and carers this afternoon, Mr Cundy apologised "for any hurt or grief I have caused anybody in the school and wider Calare community".

"I have made a serious error of judgement," he said.

"My heart is with every student at Calare. It always has been and always will be.

"This school is committed to supporting its students."

Mr Cundy's comments were made as he attempted to encourage teachers to identify students to take part in an upcoming mental health and social skills workshop.

"The new initiative highlighted was one the school had chosen to undertake as part of our efforts to assist all students," he said.

Click here to read Chris Cundy's full letter of apology

Parents lash out at principal: 'some people just don't have a heart'

"I wish to assure you that Calare Public is a caring school that looks after the needs of every student in a respectful way.

"I am sorry that I have blurred that image through my inappropriate written comments."

Mr Cundy's apology comes at a time when many parents and community leaders in the area of disability care are calling for his dismissal.

Calare Public School.

Calare Public School.

THURSDAY, 9AM:

A PARENT with students at Calare Public says she will withdraw her children from the school after learning principal Chris Cundy asked staff to identify children with "two heads" and "webbed feet" to take part in a mental health and social skills workshop the school was running.

Sally, who asked that her last name not be published, said she was shocked to learn of Mr Cundy's comments.

"It's not acceptable," she said.

"We get flyers about bullying that say Calare is a caring school but I don't think it cares at all now."

Sally said she had only recently moved to Orange from Sydney and researched schools in the area before selecting Calare and moving into the school's catchment area.

"I don't want my kids to learn to call people names," she said.

Mr Cundy's comments were made in a staff newsletter circulated to around 50 people.

In the newsletter Mr Cundy said he wanted teachers to identify students "suffering from undue anxiety, lacking any resilience, poor socialising skills, two heads, webbed feet and village idiots".

He also referred to the workshop as "operation nutcase".

A spokesperson for the Department of Education and Communities (DEC) said the principal "appreciates that the material was unacceptable and apologises for any offence it caused". 

"He has undertaken not to include any material of this nature in future staff newsletters," the spokesperson said.

The DEC spokesperson said Mr Cundy had not been suspended, but had been formally counselled by the department.

"The Department stresses that the material is contrary to the values of public education and the school's track record of support for students with disabilities and other learning needs," the spokesperson said.

tracey.prisk@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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