Current Affairs

This Catholic school had a sign up saying being gay is ‘disordered’

Katharine Swindells November 6, 2017
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A Catholic school in County Durham has been the subject of controversy, after it was discovered they were displaying a sign calling homosexuality “disordered” and saying it should be “condemned.”

St Bede’s Catholic School, in Lanchester, defended the sign by saying it was part of a display and was “taken out of context.”

Students at the secondary school tore the sign down and shared pictures of it on Snapchat, where it was widely criticised.

The sign read “‘Homosexuality is a disordered behaviour that must be condemned’ (Vatican statement 30 July 2008)” and pictures of same-gender stick figures holding hands, crossed out.

This Catholic school had a sign up saying being gay is ‘disordered’

The school administration said the sign was part of a revision display for Religious Studies class, showing a variety of religious beliefs that the students were supposed to learn about.

“In the centre of the display were the criteria for achieving the highest grade and an explanation regarding the context of the display,” Neville Harrison, headteacher of St. Bede’s, said.

“Regrettably, the posted resource had been removed from the display and therefore removed from its overall context.”

The display showed beliefs and quotes from other religions, including the Qur’an, the Methodist Church, the Old and New Testaments, and Bishop Desmond Tutu.

Related: Angry mother pulls daughter out of school because she learned what ‘gay’ means

The school says students were required to memorise quotes from different religious perspectives for their exam.

“This particular resource was displayed as a revision tool and as such was not created to cause any harm or ill-feeling,” Harrison said.

However many parents from the school have argued that, even if this was the case, anti-gay messages still should not be allowed to be displayed prominently in the school.

“Whilst I understand GCSE students need to learn the quotes for exams I would like to see the school address the impact on younger children who aren’t part of those lessons so don’t fully understand the context and may take them at face value,” one parent told Chronicle Live.

The school’s website says it aims to “create an atmosphere of Catholic values, attitudes, practice and knowledge such that all children will have the opportunity for their faith to be nurtured.”

“The Catholic ethos of the school enables every member of our community to grow fully and to know their own unique value and worth.”

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Following the uproar, the school has said that they will be reconsidering their displays.

“As a school, we are keen to refresh classroom displays with relevant resources that will support students’ learning,” Harrison said.

“However, we take all community views seriously and so in light of this event, we will review our classroom display policy moving forward.”

Related topics: Catholic, Durham, Homophobia, Religion, school

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