Principal who put student on indefinite suspension resigns

Former St Edmund’s College student John Paul Romano. PHOTO: Doug Dobing

A young Canberra man who was indefinitely suspended after a very public run-in with his Catholic high school has welcomed news that its principal has resigned.

The Catholic Weekly reported in June that John Paul Romano, 17, had been suspended from St Edmund’s College, Canberra, after protesting the school’s change of uniform and crest, alleging a lack of consultation with the wider ‘Eddie’s’ community.

Principal Daniel Lawler faced broader criticism at the time, as reported in The Canberra Times, over concerns about an allegedly autocratic style of decision making at the school.

Mr Lawler announced his resignation to parents last week.

“Although too late for me, as I have left the school, I am pleased that these matters have (been) resolved and that the school community will now be able to move forward and continue to thrive as it has for the past 63 years,” Mr Romano told The Catholic Weekly.

“The thousands of young men that have passed through the school before me were always taught to stand up and fight for what they believed in, without fear or favour, and I am satisfied that the stand I took was in the best interests of the school. We must always remember that St Edmund’s is bigger than any one individual and belongs to the entire ‘Eddie’s Community’ …

“I hope to be able to give back to the St Edmund’s community by assisting in whatever capacity they would like me, and I thank the dedicated staff, past and present, for the robust education and mentoring that has formed me into the person I am today.”

Mr Lawler will remain as principal until the end of the year.

“I make this decision with mixed feelings, and will miss the most rewarding aspect of being principal of the college, the boys and their great spirit and enthusiasm,” Mr Lawler wrote in a letter to parents, as reported in The Canberra Times.

“The last three years have seen the implementation of significant changes and innovation, with the goal of school-wide improvement.

“I believe that these initiatives have and will continue to benefit the education of the students of St Edmund’s in the years ahead.”