Principal compares minister to Hitler

KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 15:31 09/11/2010
Marlene Campbell
Facebook
MARLENE CAMPBELL: 'Excuse me Minister Hitler? Am I in Germany?'

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A Southland school principal has compared education minister Anne Tolley to Hitler on her Facebook page.

Marlene Campbell, the principal of Salford School in Invercargill, made the comments on November 5, which were then picked up by bloggers KiwiBlog and WhaleOil.

Campbell wrote: "And the MOE attack schools deferring setting targets, thats a constructive response? Excuse me Minister Hitler? Am I in Germany? Is this the end of self managing schools? read Kelvin Smythes latest blog, he is a true hero! (sic)"

The comments were made on the public part of her page, called the "wall", available for all users to view.

KiwiBlog wrote about the Facebook post yesterday. By this morning, more than 80 people had commented on the article.

When contacted about the comments, Campbell said she had now made the wall private.

"It's unfortunate that the WhaleOil blog has picked it up. But we heard last week that he was targeting anyone that was on the list of schools boycotting national standards," she said.

Salford School was part of that boycott, Campbell said.

She did not want to comment on whether the comparison would affect her position at the school.

The minister's office said they were aware of the comments but did not deem them worthy of a response.

A spokesman for Tolley said: "The Minister will not be gracing those comments with a response, and remains focused on lifting achievement for all children, especially the one in five who are leaving school without the basic skills they need in reading, writing and maths."

It was not the first time Campbell had used Facebook to air her views on national standards and the Ministry, with comments such as "A vote of no confidence! Lets watch the MOE media machine attack these Schools and BOT's," featuring in previous posts.

Principals' Federation president Ernie Buutveld said the comments detracted from the national standards opposition message.

"It was an unfortunate comment," he said.

"We tell our kids ... to attack the issue, not the individual," he said.

"I guess that's probably a salient comment for adults, as well."

New Zealand Educational Institute president Frances Nelson said the comments were "rather intemperate".

- with NZPA

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