May 16, 2013

UK Catholic primary school becomes champion of gay equality

This encouraging story just in from UK's Telegraph

Catholic school calls in Stonewall after boy calls pupil's shoes 'gay'

A Roman Catholic school called in a gay rights group to give staff lessons in how to stop homophobic bullying after claims a five-year-old boy called another pupil’s shoes “gay”.

The jibe was made in the infants’ playground of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Wimbledon, southwest London, according to a school source.
It was reported by a supervisor at the school to Sarah Crouch, the head teacher, who decided that it amounted to homophobic abuse.
Miss Crouch then invited Stonewall, the gay rights group, to teach staff how to educate children in sexual equality.
The training day went ahead last September with the consent of all but one of the governors and with the approval of the authorities of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark.
The school is now the first and only Catholic primary school in the country to be listed as a Stonewall “Primary School Champion” of gay equality.

Stonewall resources for primary schools are based around a pack called “Different Families, Same Love”, which teaches the message that same-sex couple households are equal to those founded on marriage between heterosexuals.
Children are taught not to use the word “gay” derisively, even if they say it to mean “bad” or “rubbish”, because it would upset children who might be gay or might have gay parents.
But the decision to allow Stonewall into a Catholic primary has surprised family campaigners who believe that the gay rights group should not be allowed to impose its views on young children.
They claimed that such incidents were being used as a device for the group to enter schools to teach “gay propaganda”.
Antonia Tully, national coordinator of the Safe at School campaign, said that the presence of gay activists in primary schools may alarm parents. “Many parents will be very concerned that a gay rights organisation is considered to be an appropriate source of advice on how to deal with children using inappropriate language in the playground.
“If a primary school takes on Stonewall’s agenda, young children will be exposed to homosexual issues which they are too young to understand properly. Parents expect a school to provide an education, not subject their children to gay propaganda.”
One parent at the school, who gave his name only as Peter, said he was concerned that the teachers were being trained to undermine the idea of a family being based on a marriage between a man and a woman.
“Homophobia is never acceptable, and should be stamped out of children as young as possible. But there is a massive difference between that and teaching young children about gay relationships.
“Church teaching is around the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. You don’t expect a Catholic school to be teaching anything else.”
Miss Crouch said she called the campaign group in to St Mary’s to train staff “on how to tackle homophobic language and bullying”.
“As a school, and as Catholics, we are opposed to prejudice of any kind and felt it was important to tackle the issue of homophobic language and bullying.
“The training was very successful and we feel confident that if any incidents of this kind of language occur our staff have the means to address them appropriately.”


Terence Weldon said...

Thanks Jayden for publicising this. Both the school and Stonewall have denied that this had anything to do with "gay shoes" - but that misses the point, which is simply that the school is working to combat homophobia - which is required by both state law and Catholic teaching - and called on an organisation with specialist knowledge for help.

Catholic teaching is clear: all those with a homosexual orientation are entitled to be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity, and all discrimination or malice, in word or in deed, should be strongly opposed. This part of teaching is regularly overlooked by the orthotoxic Catholics whose only only interest in the matter is an obsession with the bits about "genital acts", and an obsession with keeping gay and lesbian Catholic tightly locked in the closet.

Catholic schools which promote the whole of teaching in the subject deserve commendation and support.

Richard Jayden Cameron said...

Yes, I love this story, Terry, because no matter what spin the critics put on it and no matter how scrupulously Stonewall follows "Catholkc guidelines" in their workshops in the school-avoiding any endorsement of gay marriage, for example- the fact is they are an organization that teaches "same-sex couple households are equal to those founded on marriage between heterosexuals." So they have already been allowed a foot in the door, albeit on Catholic terms. I think this is a groundbreaking event.

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