In the truth is stranger than fiction category, I was very amused to read this today. Apparently, five year old Max Hell applied for entry to St Peter the Apostle Catholic primary school but was refused due to his name. The Hell family, their name of Austrian descent meaning light or bright, have now decided to move to Geelong rather than be victimised for their family name.
Max’s dad, Alex Hell, a Catholic himself, originally suggested changing the lad’s name to Wembridge, his wife’s maiden name, but then had a change of heart. He decided that, although his son was likely to be ridiculed, especially in a Catholic school, it was not grounds enough to change the family name. When he informed the school that his son would be a proud Hell, the boy was refused. Alex Hell says, “When it came to physically signing the paperwork, I just couldn’t do it… because that’s our name, our heritage, it’s who we are.” The school principal’s response was that he had “made a rod for your son’s back”.
Mr Hell said he was now reluctant to consider a Catholic education for his children. “I’ve had enough. I was ridiculed as a child … I want him to be accepted as Max Hell, but obviously he’s not.” He also said, “It’s 2007, not 1407, it’s not the Dark Ages.”
Well, that depends on whether you’re a Catholic or not, Mr Hell.