Online comment

20th August 2010 at 01:00

Homophobia in teaching

You may remember Philip Lardner, the Tory candidate in England who was sacked by the party for supporting Section 28 because he did not consider homosexuality to be normal and therefore it should not be promoted to children.

He has now apparently been given a written warning by his local authority, having been suspended from his job as a primary school teacher. He intends to appeal against this on the grounds that, if he doesn't, "other teachers will never be able to voice personal opinions in the future".

I happen to agree with his expressed views 100 per cent. However, that is irrelevant to the wider issue, which is the freedom for teachers to hold and express views that may be considered to be "non-PC". There are lots of things which we may consider to be nasty habits - nose-picking, spitting, being an Old Firm fan - but it seems outrageous that someone should be in fear of losing their job because of any of them.

Unless a teacher is committing or inciting people to commit a crime, or are demonstrably failing in their duties as a teacher, it is essential that they have the freedom to hold or express any views they wish.


While I support the notion that teachers should have their freedom of speech and conscience protected, I think there's a huge problem. Section 28 in fact did exactly what Didactophobe is now objecting to: it prevented teachers expressing the view that homosexuality is a perfectly valid lifestyle. I have difficulty with someone who supported a measure that was designed to silence others, then claiming the right not to be silenced. However, I am uncomfortable with him being sacked because it calls in question the moral high ground that those who opposed Section 28 hold.


So long as Mr Lardner continues to be intolerant toward gay people, I have no problem being intolerant towards his bigoted views. Homophobes should not be allowed near children, any more than racists should.


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