Nigel Studdart got sacked from Pompallier Catholic College in Northland for helping angry students to protest against anti-gay marriage comments from the principal, the New Zealand Herald writes.

After a four-hour meeting with the school’s board on Tuesday, he told NZH: “It is the outcome I was expecting.

I went into the meeting with plenty of documentation and well-prepared argument but it was obviously a foregone conclusion.”

When Studdart, a science teacher, was suspended last month he said: “It was said I breached the school uniform policy by encouraging students to wear a rainbow wristband to support the rights of the gay community,”

After the principal Richard Stanton had opposed gay marriage in the school newsletter, a Facebook page named “Support Gay Rights at Pom” had been set up for pupils to share their reactions on. Studdart was suspended the day after and late on Tuesday fired.

Pat Lynch, New Zealand Catholic Education’s chief executive, did not want to talk about specific cases but said: “Catholic preaching on same sex marriage is part of the church’s moral preaching so if you take up employment in a Catholic School you’re obliged to support the religious and moral preaching because that’s what the school stands for, whether you believe in it or not.”

An anonymous mother to a student in the school in Maunu, Whangarei, told Newstalk ZB: “I’m just absolutely gobsmacked and shocked. He is a highly respected teacher. I’ve been to another school today to pick up their prospectus. That’s how I feel about it.”

Another mother, who said the students weren’t allowed to talk about the issue in school, said: “I know some who strongly agree with the headmaster as well, but I certainly know some parents and staff members who are absolutely shocked.”

Studdart told “I slept well last night with a clear conscience and I will face my tomorrows in the knowledge that I could not in all conscience have acted any differently.”

Image via Thinkstock.