Christian Teacher Suspended For Disagreeing With Gay Issues At Training

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: January 2, 2009

Christian teacher suspended pending a disciplinary investigation after disagreeing with and complaining about the way a staff training session promoted homosexuality.

Kwabena Peat is a 54- year-old history teacher and head of year at Park View Academy in north London. He walked out of a compulsory training session along with a number of other Christian staff after a talk by Sue Sanders, a lesbian from campaign group promoting gay equality questioning why heterosexuality was considered natural. According to Mr. Peat the speaker claimed that people who did not accept homosexuality as normal had “issues” to deal with. Mr Peat and other staff were deeply upset that teaching staff, and others, who disagreed out of Christian conviction were given no opportunity to respond. It would seem that at the school only one position was acceptable, denying free speech and respecting staff’s human rights, in a training establishment which is intended to encourage students to think for themselves and claims to respect every individual’s moral convictions. Mr. Peat wrote a complaining letter to the organisers of the session, in which he described Sanders’ presentation as aggressive and disregarding religious feelings of the listeners. As other staff claimed feeling “harassed and intimidated” by Mr. Peat’s letter, the principal of the school initiated an investigation and suspended the teacher in January. Mr. Peat said that he was the one who should have felt harassed and intimidated for expressing his religious views. Mr Peat, supported by the Christian Legal Centre and barrister Paul Diamond challenged the school’s employment procedures and informed the school that claiming the letter ‘harassed’ staff was ludicrous as the teachers to whom he complained about the event were all senior to him. He also told them he believed the charge ‘gross misconduct’ was disproportionate to any alleged ‘offence’ that they claimed to have taken place. Mr Peat told the school he was prepared to take them through Industrial Tribunal, and if necessary, to seek a Judicial Review of the Human Rights of Christian Teachers via the High Court if necessary. The school’s appeal panel, meeting in June 2009, agreed the charge of ‘gross misconduct’ to be disproportionate, and Mr Peat will return to work when the term commences in September of 2009. We thank the Christian Legal Centre for this story. Read the full version at: