Education Department ‘reviewing’ ban on gay authors
The Archdiocese of Southwark has defended its decision to ban a gay author from a Catholic school, insisting the school is ‘an inclusive center of learning that allows young people to thrive’.
The Department for Education is looking into the dispute over the school’s duties to teach that ‘everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect’ under the Equality Act.
Author Simon James Green was due to speak at John Fisher, a voluntary Catholic school in Croydon, on Monday, but was banned in a decision which, according to for I newspaper, had the backing of the Archbishop of Southwark John Wilson. He was also banned from speaking at a primary school, St John’s in Gravesend, on Wednesday.
Green tweeted“I’ve had a few really upsetting days. This week I was FORBIDDEN to talk about my YA books in a Catholic school.
He added: “It was an event where I talk about being an awkward teenager, the power of comedy, my career and an 8-minute section on the importance of being an LGBT representative. The school really wanted let it happen, but @RC_Southwark had other ideas. They wanted the visit to stop.
According to the correspondence seen by The tablet.
In a very significant move, the Catholic Education Service has made a strong statement that appears to oppose Southwark.
CES says“Catholic schools welcome students from all walks of life. This isolated incident gave a false impression of the inclusive nature of Catholic schools.
“Catholic schools are places where all children can thrive and as such have a zero tolerance approach to LGBT+ discrimination. Nationally, CES has worked closely with schools, dioceses and charities to produce guidance and resources on Catholic inclusivity for schools that have been acclaimed by LGBT+ organizations.
“We encourage Catholic schools to work closely with their diocese to ensure that all Catholic schools can be welcoming and inclusive centers of learning where everyone is respected as a human being created in the image and the likeness of God.”
The row erupted after the Catholic Truth Scotland website published an article about the author’s planned visit to the school, reproducing the letter to parents and guardians about the visit, which said the visit was related to World Book Day and celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month.
In a letter to school governors, Diocesan Director of Education Dr. Simon Hughes writes that Bishop Wilson fully supports the steps he has taken. He writes: “The Archbishop’s office has been bombarded with complaints about the event, many of which send a very clear message that the planned event is potentially offensive to parents, alumni and wider members of the community. Catholic. The event brought discredit to the school, the Church and all of its historical heritage.
Since the governors of a Catholic school’s foundation are guardians of its legacy and represent the archbishop, it was “regrettable” that the governing body voted to allow the school to persevere in the event, he continued. As a result, the decision had been taken to dismiss the remaining governors, two of whom had already resigned.
In conjunction with the local authority and regional school commissioner, an interim executive council is imposed instead.
A source with close ties to the school said The tablet“It brings discredit on the church. This sends a terrible message.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said: “We are reviewing the circumstances surrounding the role of the Diocese in this incident.
“We have made relationship education compulsory for all primary school students, and relationship and sex education compulsory for all secondary school students.
“Schools should teach students that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, particularly in relation to their duties under the Equality Act.”
Religiously-based schools have the right to teach what their religious beliefs are about sex and relationships, but they must also teach what is required by law.
A stand on March 3, on the Diocesan Education Commission website, states: “In accordance with our Catholic faith, schools under the guardianship or trusteeship of the Archdiocese of Southwark are required to welcome, protect and take care of all students. As the diocese with the most diverse student population in England and Wales, we are proud of our schools’ efforts to include students, regardless of their particular or individual characteristics, circumstances or needs.
“Our schools are encouraged to vigorously tackle bullying of any kind, including any form of conduct or behavior based on approaches that are disrespectful or harmful to characteristics protected by UK civil law. In addition, our schools are required to provide a relationship and sexuality education curriculum in line with the Equality Act 2010 and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
“While we do not endorse any particular curriculum or textbook, we encourage schools to use materials to support student learning in this crucial aspect of human development that has been tested and tested against these two frameworks. important. From time to time, materials or events appear for consideration that fall outside the scope of what is permitted in a Catholic school, because they do not comply with all aspects of the tests cited above – for example the protected characteristic ‘religion’ (Part 2 of the Equality Act 2010) and all that that encompasses in our context. In such circumstances, we have no alternative but to affirm our unequivocal and well-known theological and moral precepts and to act in accordance with them. The book signing event scheduled for March 7, 2022 at John Fisher School, Purley is one such event and we have recommended that school leaders cancel it.
The diocese also pointed out The tablet has a second statement on the commission’s website, which says, “At the heart of every Catholic school is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Church. We expect all Catholic schools to remain faithful to the Church’s teaching on the truth and dignity of the human person. This teaching should never result in fostering a culture of bigotry or intolerance.
“In fact, hatred and discrimination are themselves contrary to Church teaching because they fundamentally disrespect the God-given dignity of every human life. Any impression that the John Fisher School is anything other than an inclusive center of learning that allows young people to thrive is deeply regrettable. The Archdiocese acted to ensure that the material put in front of the children was appropriate for their age. We continue to work with John Fisher School moving forward.