Headmaster John Laurenson says the students received the Pride Week well with many wearing rainbow ribbons to show their support for the queer and gender diverse communities. A number of staff also showed their support for diversity on Friday when they wore rainbow colours to school.
He says while there has not been an enormous amount of openly queer or gender diverse students at the school over the years, there have been openly gay staff members and there have not been any issues that have arisen so far.
â€śThe issue of supporting diversity in all of its manifestations has not been an issue for many years,â€ť he says.
Does the school have many openly queer or gender diverse students? No we donâ€™t the last staff member I am aware of was Adam Smith, now at Rolleston, there have been students over the years, but again not an enormous number. That said however there will be some who are not comfortable openly admitting to their particular sexual orientation. That leads to the answer to the following questionâ€¦
Lawrenson says it is important to support a student-led initiative such as this â€śbecause it is part of the moral and philosophical imperative to support diversity, in all of its manifestations. When this happens, then society as a whole is strengthened.â€ť
Kendall, who has only recently come out to his family, stood in front of his school during an assembly and introduced the students to Pride week and itâ€™s importance. Read his speech below.
â€śHi, my name is Matt Kendall, for you who donâ€™t know me I am a year 13 student.
â€śLast month my family and I were talking and I came out announcing that I was gay. Now this situation is huge, telling your parents that your sexuality is not societyâ€™s definition of normal and both sides adapting to the change. Now my parents were very accepting but not being accepted is still a fear to anyone.
â€śThis pushed me to create this school very first pride week, which will be occurring throughout next week. That week will be a time for acknowledgement and awareness for the gay community, rainbow groups and the importance of LGBTIQA rights.
â€śAcceptance is also a big part of next week, where people questioning their own sexuality get to be in a safe environment with people surrounding them supporting all of this.
â€śHomophobia is still a big problem in and outside of all schools for young gay teens which leads to a high rate of suicide. However, this event isnâ€™t a time for sadness, it is time to celebrate your sexual identity. Stereotypes also doesnâ€™t define who you are as a person, just be who you want to be.
â€śRibbons will be handed out Monday form class, you are not forced to wear this - also this isnâ€™t to say that you are gay - the ribbon is to show your support for this week, so donâ€™t feel ashamed or embarrassed of what people think, wear it with pride. There will also be items decorated around the school.
â€śTo summarise Pride week is a time for acknowledgement and acceptance of diversity in all its shapes and colour. So, enjoy next week.â€ť