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Ban on teacher upheld in name of "British tolerance"

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A Science teacher who was barred from teaching after expressing his beliefs on sexual ethics in the classroom has lost his case in the High Court.

Robert Haye (43) was dismissed from Deptford Green School after he commented that homosexual practice was a “sin” when responding to questions posed by his Year 11 pupils.

The Teaching Agency subsequently placed an indefinite bar on Mr Haye from teaching at any school or sixth form – a ban that was later upheld by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

“Tolerance”

In the first case of its kind, the High Court rejected Mr Haye’s appeal against the ban stating that his comments were “inappropriate” and that he was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

In delivering the judgment, Mr Justice King said that the school had a policy requiring teachers to present positive information on homosexuality “to enable students to challenge derogatory stereotypes and prejudice.”

Robert Ogilvy, who represented Mr Haye in court, argued that the comments had not caused distress or offence to any pupil.   

He said that the bar was “fundamentally unreasonable, unfair and disproportionate” and violated his client’s freedom of speech and religion.

But the Judge said that the school’s policy was part of “modern British values of tolerance” and that Mr Haye’s appeal was “misconceived and must fail”.

Right to expression

Mr Haye – who belongs to the Seventh Day Adventist Church – said that the ruling was likely to end his teaching career in the UK since he was unwilling to compromise his beliefs.

“I will not recant my beliefs. God comes first,” he said.

“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?”

Growing intolerance

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, commented: “A number of recent expert legal opinions have warned of the effect that the redefinition of marriage would have on teachers. This case shows that even before any change in the law on marriage, people with strong beliefs on sexual ethics are being squeezed out of their jobs.

“There is a deep irony that, in the name of “tolerance,” people are being forced into accepting a set of values to which they have not subscribed. The courts are actually propagating a growing intolerance and are failing to protect people’s freedom of expression”.

Source:

East London Lines

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