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The Press – News column Mar 24

Stinking of Self-Entitlement

Schoolboys will be schoolboys,  but parents can be their own worst enemies.  Bravo to St Bede’s College Rector, Justin Boyle, for standing firm on the school’s code of conduct.  Breaching airport security, by illegally taking a ride on a luggage carousel into the secure is no trifling matter.  The two roguish rowers who did so at Auckland Airport on Friday, should count themselves lucky that the police and Aviation Security let them off with a stern warning.  But as ambassadors of the school, competing in an elite sporting regatta, their feckless actions blatantly breached the school’s code of conduct, which they and their parents willingly signed up to. In his 13 years as rector of St. Bede’s,Justin Boyle’s firm but fair leadership style has been his unwavering trademark. Highly- respected for his zero-tolerance approach on bullying and drugs,  Boyle has insisted that  those who fall foul of the rules face clear consequences.  His decision to axe the carousel riders from the school’s Maadi Cup rowing team was entirely consistent with the school’s values, and more-importantly, fully in accordance with the code of conduct. After last year’s shameful hi-jinks in Tekapo , it’s all the more galling that rogue rowers have once again generated embarrassing headlines for St. Bede’s.  But if this was a script from the Dumb and Dumber playbook, it’s the parents of the carousel clowns who have really defied all bounds of common sense.  Tromping off to the High Court to seek an urgent injunction, stinks to high heaven of elitist self-entitlement. Where’s the dignity? The decency? The self-respect? It’s a classic case of more money than scruples.  To hell with the school’s authority and the blatant breach of the code of conduct. Lawyering up to defend the family glory and the precious prodigy, in such circumstances, indicates a seriously deluded sense of priorities.  Celia Lashlie would be aghast. Perhaps these over-protective parents should have home-schooled their pampered little princes, and let them act out their Maadi fantasises in the bath tub. Let’s suppose Martin Guptill and Daniel Vettori elected to ride the carousel  through the rubber curtains, on arrival at Auckland Airport yesterday,  fresh from their Wellington heroics.  Do you think they would be playing at Eden Park on Tuesday? As on Old Boy of St. Bede’s, I admire Justin Boyle’s firm stand on flagrantly disreputable behaviour. There’s a price to pay for trashing the rules and breaking the law. There should be consequences. Take your medicine. The litigious parents of these two rowers should hang their heads in shame.  Fide et Opere.

Mike’s weekly opinion piece, as first published in The Press and on Stuff, March 24.

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