A teacher has labelled COVID-19 vaccines as "completely ineffective" and "completely unsafe for human use", in a lengthy email sent from his work account to his NSW Hunter Valley students and their families.
Australian Community Media has obtained a copy of the email that Maitland Christian School maths teacher Thomas Lovell sent on the weekend before the October 4 start of term, in which he said he and his family would not be getting vaccinated and that the response to the pandemic was "ritual subservience to the new priests of fear".
Mr Lovell declined to comment when contacted.
ACM has also obtained a copy of the email principal Geoff Peet sent to families on October 5. He said Mr Lovell's email was sent from the school platform without school knowledge or approval.
"Mr Lovell should not have sent this email without permission and I apologise unreservedly for the hurt and upset it has caused many of our families and students," Mr Peet said.
A staff member said Mr Lovell had been suspended for two weeks and was listed this week as absent, without any further explanation.
The staff member said they were "beyond disappointed" that school management had provided "absolutely no details, even the slightest" to staff about the incident; how it was responding; the reason for Mr Lovell's absence; if he was still employed; or how to answer families' and students' questions about the matter.
"When raised with our direct executive members they seemed unaware of the situation, which fits with the total lack of staff information on the subject," they said.
"I received several queries from parents following their receiving of the email. This has left staff dealing with innuendo from older students who find it funny and outright questions from younger ones, with no official way to respond as we haven't been given any official information.
"When my students make a quip or ask a question I have to play dumb and not engage. Having to face these questions and comments has left me frustrated and angry.
"Ideally I'd like to have had staff appraised of the situation and common language around how to address the matter with students. Also I have grave concerns about a teacher with those extreme views who has an appetite to share them with students having access to impressionable minds.
"I would like to see Mr Lovell removed from the classroom or at the least have some sort of plan in place to ensure he is not sharing these kinds of ideas with students. As teachers we are meant to promote critical thinking skills and these are not in evidence at all in his rant."
IN OTHER NEWS:
ACM sent Mr Peet a series of questions, which included asking if Mr Lovell had been suspended.
Mr Peet said the school did not comment publicly on specific matters relating to individual staff or students "in line with privacy requirements".
"Maitland Christian School follows Public Health Orders and health guidelines as they apply to schools," he said.
"Like all workplaces, we acknowledge there are diverse views regarding COVID and vaccination. However, we take very seriously our duty to ensure a safe workplace and school environment for staff and students. That is our highest priority."
The staff member said they and their colleagues were expecting Mr Peet to address the matter at a Zoom meeting on Wednesday.
"Mr Peet said attendance was mandatory and any exemptions had to be approved by himself. Given the timing and the seeming seriousness of his approach I assumed there would be some mention of the incident and instead had to sit through a meeting about his building plans for the future and questions about what colours we should have on our new netball courts.
"There was absolutely no mention of the incident or Mr Lovell or the email."
As of Thursday, 86.1 per cent of Australians over the age of 16 have had at least one dose of vaccine. School staff are only allowed on sites if they are fully vaccinated.
The Association of Independent Schools of NSW has advised schools they must follow the public health order that says staff "must not carry out relevant work on or after" November 8 unless fully vaccinated or they have a medical exemption.
Mr Lovell said in his email that "unless something unforeseen happens", he would not be able to teach at the school from November 8.
"Thanks to the NSW Government's new vaccination mandate for teachers, like so many others I will be forced from my job - cast aside to be a social outcast, a healthy leper of our hysterical age," he said.
Mr Lovell said he and his family had chosen not to get the COVID-19 vaccination.
"After much prayer and careful consideration I am convinced that the global response to SARS-Cov2 represents a ritual worship of a religious nature. It is a ritual rejection of God's righteous punishment of death, and a ritual subservience to the new priests of fear."
Mr Lovell also said he had been trained in statistical analysis.
"The publicly available data tells me that it is not only completely ineffective as a vaccine, but that it is completely unsafe for human use," he said.
"I can imagine lots of very bad reasons why they might be pushing this non-vaccine so desperately, but I can't tell you the real reason because I simply don't know... I do not consent to be a party to human experimentation, global depopulation, nor greed at the expense of the lives of the young and the cost of billions."
He advised his students to "not give in to fear". "You must stand strong in the sure knowledge that our Lord Jesus has given eternal life to those who overcome... you will not find [eternal life] in war, in poverty or in a syringe."
The staff member said the response from Mr Lovell's colleagues had "ranged from incredulous and disgusted to being oblivious".
"I know several staff that are aware of the email because their own children are taught by Mr Lovell... and are gobsmacked at the lack of action and consequences. [Families] were horrified that this type of email was sent not just raising concerns about the COVID rules, but speaking from a place of authority."
Mr Peet said in his email the school had previously acknowledged "ways to walk this journey together when our opinions differ".
"We continue to respect the differing views across the school community while ensuring that we adhere to all health guidelines and public health orders," he said.
"We appreciate that there are and will be diverse views on compulsory vaccination of workers in different industries, including the education sector, and whether people feel safe or unsafe with or without vaccinations or around vaccinated or unvaccinated people."
He asked families to discuss his email with their children, saying this was "the best way to honour your family's position on responding to COVID".
He said health professionals were best placed to "advise you on the safest course of action for your circumstances (whether you are pro, neutral, hesitant or 'anti' the COVID vaccines)".
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