She believes it is her “sovereign right” to say what happens to her body, which is why primary teacher Christine Livingston is not at school today.
The Tapanui woman is no longer able to teach because she has not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Mrs Livingston said she was prepared to lose her job because she felt so strongly that she should be able to choose whether she was vaccinated.
“I’m about freedom of choice.
“It’s my body. I am well and I don’t want a jab.”
She had not given up teaching.
“I’m being fired.
“That’s pretty devastating.
“My right as a teacher is being taken away.”
Under mounting pressure from others, she had considered getting vaccinated.
“I don’t believe for me that will take the stress away.”
Some of her colleagues who at first did not want to be vaccinated had now done so, which concerned her.
“They’ve taken it for their love of the children and they don’t want to let down their community. ”
The way the issue was dividing the community and the way people were treating each other was another concern.
“Humans are not being kind to each other.
“We’ve never judged each other like this before.
“This democracy we live in appears to be eroded.”
She always wanted to be a teacher but after leaving school worked in a bank.
In her late 30s she trained as a teacher and had been teaching for the past 16 years.
It was not the salary that attracted her to teaching.
“You are called to it because it is something inside your heart .. that ability to shape and form young people’s skills and learning- it’s wonderful.
“You always feel like you are helping someone.
“[I] absolutely adore and love teaching.”
After a stint as Waikaka School acting principal earlier in the year, Mrs Livingston had been relief teaching in a variety of schools.
This week about 100 people attended a rally at Gore’s Eccles St playground to show their support for teachers.
Waikaka School teacher Lisa Miller was at the rally.
Mrs Miller said being vaccinated was the right choice for her.
“I’m here today to support my colleagues’ right to choose.”
The mandate had caused unnecessary division in the community and brought stress into people’s lives that could have more impact than Covid-19, she said.