The High Court has upheld a classroom ban on a Christian school teacher who condemned the ‘homosexual lifestyle’ in front of pupils. In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, a judge rejected an appeal by the science teacher against the indefinite ban which he says is likely to end his teaching career.
The teacher told a year 11 class of students aged 15-16 that the way homosexual people lived was ‘disgusting’ and a sin, according to the Bible. He also told year nine pupils aged 13-14 on another occasion that ‘anyone who worships on Sunday is basically worshipping the devil’. He and his family belong to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which observes Saturday as the Sabbath.
Following his comments at a 1,200-pupil comprehensive school in south-east London, a teaching assistant complained and triggered an investigation. The teacher was dismissed and subsequently prohibited from teaching at any school or sixth-form college after the Secretary of State for Education backed a decision of regulatory body, the Teaching Agency, recommending the ban.
Rejecting his appeal, Mr Justice King said that the ban was justified because the teacher had shown lack of insight when he made his ‘inappropriate’ comments and was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct. The teacher can apply to return to the classroom after two years but said outside court that he thought his teaching career in the UK was over because he was not prepared to give up his religious beliefs – and the right to express them – in order to teach again.
He said: “I will not recant my beliefs. God comes first. Christians are now being persecuted in this country for believing in the Bible. That cannot be. We have a right to believe and express what we believe, but people are now afraid of being punished for not being politically correct. This country is a free and democratic society, but is it? Is it really?”