The father of a 17-year-old boy suspended from St Edmund's College for, on the face of it, trying to organise a student strike to protest changes at the school says he fully supports his son's actions and no one is taking advantage of the teenager.
Well-known Canberra lawyer Peter Romano said his son, John-Paul, had his full consent for speaking out about changes to the school crest and uniform and was not a child who needed protection.
John-Paul, who is in Year 12, has also engaged in the past with the media as a member of the Forrest Residents' Association.
"He's been a long-standing member of the SRC and he is very community-minded," Mr Romano said.
"He's not, by any means, being taken advantage of, I know that. This is John-Paul down to a tee.
"If he feels passionate about something, he stands up for it."
In the wake this week of revelations by The Canberra Times about the suspension of John-Paul, St Edmund's headmaster Daniel Lawler on Thursday posted a response to the school's Facebook page.John-Paul was suspended for "bringing the college into disrepute" but the school did not detail how he did that. The suspension came as he tried to organise the strike for Friday.
Mr Lawler maintained the school "always permits a respectful and open dialogue and encourages the expression of opinion".
The was roundly howled down by comments on social media and direct approaches by parents who maintained they were not being heard by the school administration.
One mother told The Canberra Times she had been told at the school induction for her sons that if anyone criticised the college on social media, they would be sued.
"The principal has made change after change after change," she said.
"There's been a few parent forums and when anyone voices an opinion, we get shot down in flames."
Mr Lawler also suggested on the post the school was hamstrung in speaking about the case of John-Paul to protect his privacy and urged the media to tread lightly, emphasising John-Paul's youth..
"We will not be discussing his personal situation publicly, even to correct misstatements of fact by others," he wrote.
"Our overriding concern is for the well being of all our boys, including the student who has been suspended.
"I urge the local news media, and individuals commenting online, to remember that the person concerned in this matter is a seventeen-year-old school boy."
Mr Romano, a former member of the board of the college, said his son was articulate and capable and overwhelming support has been shown for his stance.
"This is not Daniel Lawler's school; this is the community's school," he said.
Mr Romano was also "very upset" that Edmund Rice Education Australia put out a statement in support of St Edmund's but had not contacted him to check on the welfare of John-Paul.
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