Catholic World News Headlines
Date: 3/27/2003 2:34:04 PM Pacific Standard Time

CATHOLIC TEACHER RESIGNS RATHER THAN REMOVE ANTI-WAR PIN

A Catholic high school teacher who was told not to wear an anti-war pin by the principal quit rather than comply with the dress code.

Gary Tankard, 63, said he and other teachers had worn the buttons, which read "War is not the answer," although all but Tankard removed them after administrators told them to. Instead, he resigned several weeks ago, before the war in Iraq began, but came forward to speak out as he watched media coverage of the war. "This was a matter of conscience," Tankard told The Record of Bergen County for Wednesday's editions.

Tankard, a Catholic deacon, began teaching religion at Bergen Catholic High School in September. He had taught in public and Catholic schools for nearly 40 years before retiring temporarily in 2001.

The principal of the 850-student boys school, Joseph Fusco, said the student dress code bars slogans on clothing and that the rules apply to faculty as well. The school is operated by the Congregation of Christian Brothers. "I encourage teaching that (anti-war) point of view because it is a teaching of the Church," Fusco said. "I just feel a button is not a vehicle to teach."