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New Zealand School Fired Sports Coach For Being Gay

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A New Zealand Christian school has been ordered to pay undisclosed compensation and apologize to a sports coach it fired because he was gay.

Board members of Middleton Grange School in Christchurch – on New Zealand's South Island – will also attend courses on human rights awareness, school principal Richard Vanderpyl said Thursday.

"We're thinking of the impact on him," Vanderpyl said. "We care for him and respect him."

He said he offered to rehire the 28-year-old coach, but the man had already found a new job at another Christchurch school.

The coach, whose identity has been withheld, was employed in February to coach the girls' netball team but was dismissed when the school board discovered he was gay.

"At first I was shocked. I've never felt so small in my life," the man told New Zealand media Thursday. "It's hard enough to go through finding yourself and accepting yourself and being 'out' in the first place. Having to go through discrimination doesn't help."

The school board refused to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement.

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