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Outcry over free schools’ Section 28-style ban on ‘promoting homosexuality’ reveals more with policy

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  1. Scott Rose 18 Aug 2013, 1:08am

    At root, this kind of political gay-bashing is coming from a place of religious hatred of gay people. It isn’t any more valid than the Book of Mormon’s passages saying that blacks are inferior to whites.

  2. http://www.standard.co.uk/news/ed-balls-to-let-faith-schools-teach-homosexuality-is-wrong-6720565.html

    Terrible relic of Ed Ball’s catholic upbringing. Shocking that we’re all disgusted at Russia doing this while it’s happening right under our noses.

  3. Derek Williams 18 Aug 2013, 1:36am

    In my over 30 years as a teacher, I never once saw a colleague “promoting homosexuality”. Absurd. No teacher should be “promoting heterosexuality” either. Teachers are there to model ethical behaviour and teach facts.

    Any teacher who thinks you can successfully promote a sexual orientation shouldn’t even be in the profession.

    1. “Teachers are there to teach facts” – well when it comes to the facts about sexuality and gender identity, they’re failing pretty miserably at that !

  4. I doubt whether the wording ‘promotion of homosexuality’ is legal. Almost certainly not in conformity with the Equality Act.

  5. If any politicians read this I hope they understand that education of LGBT issues in schools is absolutley paramount to stamping out homophobia and apart from visibility in the public arena, it’s the best way to promote understanding and acceptance.

    Stop letting these kids parents fill their heads will bile and let the schools teach the children about the true diversity of nature!! Don’t repeal the laws and deny them vital education at your own peril; it’s as simple as that. If you deny these kids protection their blood will be on your hands, and the people who commit atrocities due to lack of education and understanding are entirely your responsibility too.

    We’ve been having to explain and justify ourselves without ANY help for far too long now, cut us some freakin slack already !

    1. GulliverUK 18 Aug 2013, 9:15am

      It’s such a high-charged issue, especially for those of us who lived through through Section 28, that I would be happy to move straight to direct action, i.e. protests. Any hint that any person in the government, or any civil servant, has allowed the introduction of illegal and discriminatory language makes me way more angry than being discriminated against in marriage — this really is the red button issue, it will get many people very angry, and if the government don’t issue some clarification soon they’ll have serious trouble on their hands. And they’ll have brought it all on themselves. Gove will end up being forced to resign, the Tory party will be seen as even more homophobic, and the public, when they wake up and find out, when it hits the Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, will be shocked.

  6. Here’s the YouTube recording of the school anthem these poor kids have to sing every school morning – with lyrics. Here’s it’s official name: Государственный гимн Российской Федерации
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOAtz8xWM0w

    BTW, I’m watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy which includes a rousing rendition sung at the “office party”!

  7. I take comfort from the fact that the policy statements say: ‘objective discussion of homosexuality may take place in the classroom’.

    well i dont. what is ‘objective discussion’? is religious point of view an objective one? is gay lifestyle choice an objective term? is ‘should gays be executed’ an objective question??? who will decide framework for ‘objective discussion’??? teachers or governors with homophobic views??? there should be specific guidelines instead of some meaningless sound bites like ‘objective’ or ‘reasonable’

  8. Peter & Michael 18 Aug 2013, 9:20am

    As our Schools Minister Conservative MP voted against giving pupils information if they were approached by a pupil seeking advice on his/her sexual orientation, upon writng to our MP on two instances of near suicide in our area of Crewe, we received after 5 months of writing to him, the following reply by Helen Grant MP, Minister for Women and Equalities, stating the following ‘The Department of Education’s current anti-bullying introduced in July 2011, clarifies the powers and duties that schools have in regard to preventing and tackling bullying, including prejudiced-based bullying such as homophobic and transphobic bullying. Teachers will of course be expected to teach the factual and legal position that marriage can be between opposite sex couples and same-sex couples-but they will not be expected to promote or endorse views which go against against their beliefs’. So if this is the present Coalition Governments stance, why is this ‘Section 28′ law being introduced in our schools?

  9. Jock S. Trap 18 Aug 2013, 9:44am

    Disgraceful that teachers can be so discriminating to children.

    We’ve come into the 21St Century to move forward Not backward into the late 1980′s.

    The government needs to take a stand and stop this discrimination from our schools.

    Their should be no place for discrimination and allowing it in schools is the lowest of the low.

  10. Please – it is not the teachers that have created this horrific policy, it is a company called PLACE who a lot of academies and fee schools have paid to help the transition and paid for policies. Perhaps the Headteacher and Governors should do as they tell the teachers to do and actually READ what they have as policies

    1. They signed off on those documents, and in many cases – I’ve read it on their policy documents and web sites – they did so in consultation with staff teaching those subjects, so the blame goes all the way down to whoever agreed with it. In some cases I’m sure some objected but were overruled, Ultimately the school board is legally responsible for any law suits that result, or any action taken against the school because of illegal policies – and they are illegal because of the Equality Act 2010.

      I rarely say this, but I wish we were a little bit more like the US. By this point there would have been legal action drafted against school governors ready to be served on Monday morning.

  11. It sounds to me as if they are breaking the law on equal rights policies.

    Someone who can afford it, or a LGBT organisation needs to make this a legal matter.

  12. Jason Schumann 18 Aug 2013, 10:35am

    I will be coordinating all action against Stockport Academy.

  13. Two things:
    So long as there is breath in one bigoted christian the fight will continue, unfortunately.
    A driving force behind this is – http://www.powerbase.info/index.php/Family_Education_Trust

  14. stockport academy has always been the same though since it opened… i was basically told to shut up and deal with the abuse i was getting from other pupils and even staff…. so it comes as no surprise but still no less shocking that things like this are happening in todays society

  15. Surely these clauses are in breach of the governments country wide eqality laws? Why have they not been prosecuted?

  16. I long had the impression that “free schools” and Academies were a way for the Evangicals and religious conservatives, possibly from America, to infiltrate our educational system as they have done in other countries. This seems to suggest there may be some truth in that.

  17. Dont we need an education tag on the front page to help collate related articles.
    There was an article a while ago about Gay Straight Alliances in Welsh Secondary schools, supported by the welsh government.
    GSA are extensive in Canada and are even mandated in Canadain Catholic schools ( they cannot prevent them) which recieve state funding throughout Canada.
    Perhaps this should be explored using the Equality Act as a way of countering these regressive policys’.
    Thoughts?

  18. essexgirlbecky 18 Aug 2013, 2:58pm

    This is actually illegal. In free schools, the Board of Governors are public authorities and are under a public sector equality duty to promote equality, eliminate discrimination and to foster good relations between the various groups of people which make up our diverse communities. (s.149 Equality Act 2010)

    1. Thanks for that.
      Aah! So this is why the right wing and religiously motivated Tories want to eviscerate and remove the public sector equality duty!
      So they can continue their discrimination and physiological persecution against our young people without legal censure or redress.

      1. essexgirlbecky 19 Aug 2013, 12:12pm

        You might think that. You might very well think that.

  19. Paul Essex/London 18 Aug 2013, 3:20pm

    http://mtpt.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/section-28-reborn-or-why-you-should-revise-standard-documents/

    This blogger seems to have unearthed root of this ‘re-introduction’ of s28 wording. What a shame nobody at PinkNews or Gay Star News could undertake this simple task that any half decent journalist should be capable of. The policies seem to all be from a standard template which was drafted before the repeal of s28 and has gone unaltered and unchecked ever since. Thus nobody has proactively re-introduced such a policy, it is just that none of the schools could be bothered to check the template they had paid for from the a service provider for free schools. Albeit shows the continuing lack of importance given by our education system to issues of sex and sexuality.

    1. GulliverUK 18 Aug 2013, 6:04pm

      Many of the documents were signed off only a year or so ago. In addition, Clause 28, introduced by this coalition, only encouraged this sort of homophobia.

      Which ever way you look at it there are homophobic bigoted or utterly incompetent people running these schools, because phrases like those should never, ever, have been seen after Section 28 was repealed. And with the Equality Act 2010 documents should have been further revised. The problem is that when I was at school half the teachers should never have been accepted or granted teacher certificates, they ranged from those with a hatred of children, to some who were psychotic, so intolerant bigoted homophobic and racist ones. I suspect today the quality of teachers is only marginally improved. And now that you got complete morons from a business background running schools, whose sole purpose is to squeeze the tax-payer and make as much money as possible, then standards in school management have slipped to an all-time low.

    2. essexgirlbecky 18 Aug 2013, 6:52pm

      That doesn’t stand up to scrutiny!

      Public authorities, including the Board of Governors of a Free School, are bound by a Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), contained within section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 as per my comment above.

      Any reference to ‘the promotion of homosexuality’ is very emotive; the phrase is evocative of section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, though what ‘promoting homosexuality’ might look like in practice was never established. However I would find the policy document referenced here hard to reconcile with the PSED.

      One has to question why James Addy, a public servant, was in October 2010 promoting a policy which, regardless of when he originally drafted it, was by that that time probably unlawful, and certainly offensive, and why Place Group was peddling it as a template policy fit for use in the current environment.

    3. Perhaps you should be directing your anger at the governors who you claim ‘could not be bothered to check’ their schools’ policies, especially those policies that have fundamental consequences for the welfare of their pupils? If what you claim is true, They are at the very least, grossly incompetent and negligent; I suspect bigotry is a more likely explanation and I agree with Gulliver and Becky above.

      1. That the phrase “promoting homosexuality” appears in any school policy, in any sense, shows an extreme lack of judgement and ignorance of their subject matter. Especially, since the vilification and trouncing that was given to S28 I would have thought the mere appearance of the phrase should have set alarm bells ringing and amber lights flashing in any one connected with education and certainly anyone up to speed on sex and relationship education and conversant with school bullying.
        Makes me wonder if these people are fit persons to be in charge of educating children or educational institutions.

      2. Paul Essex/London 18 Aug 2013, 9:20pm

        I completely agree with your comment as to gross incompetence and negligence and Gulliver and Becky’s comments. I’m not angry at those reporting the story, and I don’t think that there is no possibility that the reason it’s still in there could be also be down to continuing bigotry and hatred. I am, however, disappointed at not being told the whole story as to how that text found it’s way in their originally and that these schools in geographically disparate areas were using exactly the same wording and why. That piece of information in itself shows how easy it is for such bigotry and inequality to continue when there is still, 10 years on, no national requirement or guidelines to tackle the issues of sexuality in our schools. It shows the pathetically low regard the Dept of Education (under both administrations) has for equality legislation on this area.

      3. Paul Essex/London 18 Aug 2013, 9:24pm

        Correction – Ministry of Education

  20. Teaching sexuality objective in a nutshell: homosexuality is a natural and harmless expression of love found in humans and other species. It is recognised as such by every medical, psychological institute in the western world. The arguments against homosexuality are driven by ignorance and superstition, usually boiling down to ‘god says’. There is no evidence for a god, let alone knowing which god, or what god’s mind thinks. Charles Darwin consigned religion to the dustbin anyway. Class Dismissed!

    1. I don’t take comfort in the permissibility of “objective discussion” of homosexuality in these schools. Allowing objective disucssion of “it” sends the message that homosexuality is not a norm but an “issue” to have beliefs about. That is not a message of inclusiveness but one of “othering” and exclusion. This does not create a feeling of safety for LGBT students. It turns them into objects of enquiry and deliberation. Sad.

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