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Coddington's Liberty Belle

Liberty Belle

First, an apology. A couple of weeks ago I credited the Herald’s Saturday magazine with publishing a story on hoarders. Lauren Quaintance immediately emailed me pointing out it was the magazine she edits, published by the Sunday Star Times, which ran this story. Sorry Lauren. Or should that be, sorry Herald? Anyway, hopefully all will be forgiven tonight over a glass of juice at the annual media knees-up, the Qantas Awards, being held in Wellington (hooray!) and to which I am invited because I’m a columnist for the Herald on Sunday.

Now to lunacy, and I’ve received the Annual Report of the Christchurch College of Education. All seems fine, financially, but I had to cringe at the pages devoted to ‘Equal Employment Opportunities’. Witness – “EEO in 2004 therefore concentrated on development of strategies in the following areas: achieving a diverse workforce that is reflective of the larger community, the provision of a work environment that is supportive of the College workforce and developing reliable data about the ethnic diversity of College staff. In addition to the above, EEO management for 2004 undertook some key project work around gender equity amongst staff and saw a continuance of the promotion of bicultural awareness and understanding through staff development in areas such as Te Reo, Tikanga and the Treaty of Waitangi.” And you thought they’d employ the best people for the job; those most skilled, experienced and passionate about training people to be excellent teachers. Silly you.

This is the same teacher training college about which I wrote in North & South in 2001 because it offered a paper on “Social and Ethical Issues in Sexuality Education”. The list of questions for use by classroom teachers included the following:

How can you tell if someone is heterosexual (straight)?

What causes heterosexuality?

Is it possible that heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?

40 percent of married couples get divorced. Why is it so difficult for straights to stay in long-term relationships?

99 percent of reported rapists are heterosexual. Why are straights so sexually aggressive?

The majority of child molesters are heterosexual. Do you consider it safe to expose children to heterosexual teachers, scout leaders, coaches, etc?

What have been your reactions to answering these questions?

What feelings have you experienced? Why?

I could ask you the same, and I hope you’ve been laughing uproariously. Leaving aside the questionability of a state-funded institution wasting taxpayers’ money on such uncorroborated garbage, I would not ban such nonsense. The best way, in my opinion, to destroy lunacy is to expose it to the light and ridicule it. So keep sending in those sightings.

Yours in liberty,

Deborah Coddington

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