A senior London teacher, suspended and threatened with the sack for expressing his Christian beliefs at work will be back at work next term.
Kwabena Peat, 54, was suspended after he complained that a staff training day was used to promote homosexual rights, and to marginalise and label those who disagreed with homosexual practice. His case follows a number of others which have left Christians feeling sidelined in the workplace.
Mr Peat, who is head of year at a North London secondary school, walked out of the compulsory training session along with several other colleagues. The session included a presentation by Sue Sanders, a co-founder of the Schools Out organisation which promotes a radical homosexual agenda in schools, in which she questioned whether heterosexuality was natural.
Mr Peat states there was no opportunity for those with a different point of view to respond. He wrote to three staff who organised the event and complained about the ‘aggressive’ presentation of homosexual rights. His letter also referred to his Christian beliefs about the practice of homosexuality that sex should be between a man and woman within marriage.
The recipients of the letter said they felt ‘harassed and intimidated’ by it. Following an investigation, Mr Peat was suspended.
The committed Christian said he fully expected the training session to provide information to help teachers handle homophobic bullying, but the guest speaker had gone much further. He said: “She started promoting homosexual lifestyles and suggesting those who had objections should sort out their prejudices. She asked us ‘What makes you all think that to be heterosexual is natural?’ It was at that point I walked out.”
Mr Peat, supported by the Christian Legal Centre 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 of ‘gross misconduct’ was disproportionate to any alleged offence that they claimed to have taken place. The CLC instructed leading human rights barrister Paul Diamond to advise the teacher and as a result, 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 last Friday, week agreed the charge of ‘gross misconduct’ to be disproportionate, and Mr Peat will return to work when the new term commences in September.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, barrister and director of the Christian Legal Centre said: “Although we consider this a great victory for common sense, the School is still seeking to control Mr Peat’s views and behaviour by not allowing him to talk about what has happened, both within the school or via the media, which has been very supportive. Mr Peat was discriminated against for expressing his Christian faith and his invitation to consider Christianity was deemed ‘harassment’. What kind of society are we living in when a legitimate orthodox Christian view as expressed by Mr Peat is construed in this way?
“I am delighted that CLC has secured another success, and that Mr Peat can return to work. It must surely be deemed unacceptable that highly trained teachers should be discriminated against and face dismissal for seeking to protect children. Mr Peat simply expressed a Christian viewpoint and objected to the school undermining parental rights regarding the education of their children on sexual ethics. He should be applauded for challenging the new political orthodoxy in an attempt to protect children rather than face such harsh intimidation”.
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