UPDATE 11am Friday
Girton Grammar School headmaster Matthew Maruff has issued a statement on the controversy surrounding former school captain Angus McCormack’s departure from the school’s Foundation Day service last week.
“Whilst this situation is regrettable, it is an issue of dress code for occasion and institution, not one of sexual discrimination,” Mr Maruff said in the statement.
“At no time, past or present, has Angus been discriminated against on grounds of sexuality in any way by Girton Grammar School.”
Mr Maruff said Mr McCormack was informed by a member of staff that his attire was inappropriate for the event as a guest of a member of the official party.
“Angus may have felt that he had no choice but to leave,” he said
“His quick departure left no opportunity for an alternative outcome to be achieved.”
He said Mr McCormack was asked in an email to his father to “dress in a suit as is expected of teaching staff and members of the board”.
Mr Maruff said the school wanted to speak to Mr McCormack and his father directly about the matter.
A former Girton Grammar School captain claims to have been discriminated against by the school after being ejected from an event.
But headmaster Matthew Maruff has defended the actions of his deputy and said the young man was turned away from the Foundation Day Celebration because he was inappropriately dressed.
“The issue is what someone wears at the appropriate time and appropriate place,” Mr Maruff said.
“It’s just regrettable, it really is.”
Angus McCormack vented his despair in a Facebook post that has garnered more than four thousand likes.
He was invited to the school’s Foundation Day Celebration by his father Chris McCormack, who was then a board member.
“He has since resigned,” Angus wrote.
He said the school included in its response to his father’s RSVP a request that Angus wear “appropriate attire” to the event.
“Now, those who know me are fully aware that I am openly gay and very confident in my often bold choices of fashion,” Angus wrote in his Facebook post.
“However, I decided to tone down my appearance and be respectful to their wishes.
“Therefore, I decided to wear minimal makeup, a single small earring, neat black leather pants, a white shirt with a black bow tie and a black designer jacket – a suit by any definition of the word, although not in the typical commercial fabrics."
Angus said he was approached by the deputy head of the school, Robyn MacCulloch, shortly after he arrived at the event at Sacred Heart Cathedral, “and without even greeting me she told me I was inappropriately dressed and commanded that I leave the event.”
Both Angus and his father promptly left.
“My family and I are incredibly hurt by the actions,” Angus wrote.
“Since I have not been contacted by anyone currently at the school let alone received any remote form of apology or acknowledgment, I have decided it is time to take things further.
"I am not only seeking fair treatment for myself, but I also want to fight for all those people out there who don’t have a voice, who don’t know who they are and who can’t openly express themselves.
“This kind of discrimination against any person regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation or beliefs is just utterly appalling.”
Mr Maruff denied the incident was about anything other than the young man’s attire, describing allegations Angus was discriminated against for his sexuality as “outrageous.”
He said Angus was turned away from the event because he had not adhered to the dress code.
“It is about context,” Mr Maruff said.
Though he did not see Angus on the night, and therefore could not comment on what he wore, Mr Maruff said he was made aware it was inappropriate for a person seated in the VIP section at the event.
“What we would call lounge suit would be the appropriate attire,” Mr Maruff said.
He said Angus would have known what he was expected to wear because it was consistent with the school’s core values.
“It is upsetting, but we can’t alter those core values for one person,” Mr Maruff said.
He said he was keen to make amends with Angus and his family over a cup of tea and a discussion to “make sense of it together”.
Mr Maruff said he was responsible for making Angus school captain in 2013.
“We really do celebrate diversity and whilst from my point of view this is very regrettable and really sad – that’s a pretty strong endorsement,” he said.
“I am very proud of the school – my job is to build trust.
“I want people to understand these issues are complex.”
The family was contacted for comment.