Across the ocean, a Church of England School in London has come under scrutiny for firing a teacher who told students “being LGBTQ+ is a sin.” Here’s the full story.
Teacher’s Beliefs Clash With Curriculum
Glawdys Leger, a dedicated teacher with 12 years of service at Bishop Justus Church of England School, found herself at the heart of a fervent debate on LGBTQ+ issues, ultimately costing her job.
From Dedicated Teacher to Focal Point of LGBTQ+ Controversy
At the center of this controversy is Leger’s refusal to participate in teaching LGBTQ+ lessons, which she claimed were against her religious beliefs.
“Extreme and Politically Partisan”
According to Leger, these lessons were not only contrary to her faith but were, in her words, “extreme and politically partisan.”
Leger’s Refusal to Teach Sparks Discord
Her stance led to a confrontation with school authorities, who viewed her refusal to teach the curriculum as an act of defiance.
Teaching Sexual and Gender Identities to Young Students
The curriculum in question introduced students as young as 11 to 13 to various sexual and gender identities, including pansexuality, asexuality, and intersexuality.
The Core Elements of the Controversial Curriculum
Additionally, it emphasized the importance of “allyship,” which, among other things, required students to support and defend an individual’s “protected characteristics,” with gender identity being one of them.
The Equality Act 2010
Leger, however, contended that gender identity did not fall under the Equality Act 2010’s definition of protected characteristics, setting the stage for a clash of principles. In response, she took it upon herself to offer an alternative perspective.
Leger’s Mission to Offer Multiple Viewpoints
Leger chose to teach her students the Christian view on LGBTQ+ topics, believing that a balanced education should include multiple viewpoints.
Teaching the Christian View
During one of her lessons, Leger expressed her opposition to transgender ideology, stating that it conflicted with her religious beliefs. She also conveyed the Christian perspective on premarital sex and emphasized living one’s life in accordance with their faith.
“LGBTQ+ Is a Sin”
However, it was the allegations of her telling students that “people will always be seen by God as having their birth gender,” that “transgender people are “just confused,” and that “LGBTQ+ is a sin” that sparked outrage among some parents and students.
Allegations and Denial
Leger, in response, confirmed her belief that being LGBTQ+ is a sin but denied making some of the other statements attributed to her.
Facing the Consequences
As a result of the backlash her teachings received, including claims of upsetting students, Leger was reported to the Teaching Regulation Agency. The school terminated her for gross misconduct following an investigation and disciplinary hearing.
The Teaching Regulation Agency asserted that her teaching conduct ran counter to “fundamental British values” due to a perceived lack of tolerance toward individuals with differing beliefs.
Expressing Love for LGBTQ+ Individuals
Leger’s hearing is scheduled to commence soon, and she has expressed her deep compassion for LGBTQ+ individuals, especially those dealing with gender dysphoria.
She maintains that she has not displayed hatred or a lack of love toward LGBTQ+ people and emphasized her refusal to teach or endorse beliefs contradicting her faith.
Promoting Fundamental Values
The school has stated that its top priority is delivering high-quality education while promoting fundamental British values, including mutual respect and tolerance for various beliefs.
They emphasize their commitment to a curriculum that aligns with governmental requirements to promote these values.
The Implications for Freedom of Speech in Education
The case of Glawdys Leger has ignited a broader conversation about the balance between personal beliefs and professional responsibilities, the boundaries of freedom of speech within educational settings, and the obligations of teachers in the modern world to address diverse topics.
The outcome of her hearing may have far-reaching implications for educators and their right to express their beliefs within the classroom.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Andrii Nekrasov. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.