Teachers vote to strike after gay author banned from school visit

Teachers vote to strike after gay author banned from school visit

USA News

TEACHERS have “overwhelmingly” voted to go on strike after a gay author was banned from visiting pupils at a Catholic school.

Simon James Green teases his new book Gay Club!

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National Education Union (NEU) activists said the banning of acclaimed children’s author Simon James Green from John Fisher School, in Croydon, south London, was “absolutely disgraceful”. They have now “overwhelmingly” voted to strike action against “a discriminatory working environment” after the Archdiocese of Southwark cancelled a talk by Mr Green, whose books feature gay characters.

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John Fisher School teachers have voted to strike (Image: GOOGLE MAPS )

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Simon James Green reacted to the news on Twitter (Image: TWITTER )

The chaplain at the boys’ secondary school said Mr Green’s books promoted a “lifestyle choice” which had “no place” in a Catholic school.

The NEU’s ballot closed on Wednesday with 90 percent of members voting in favour of strike action in a 76 percent turnout.

Pauline Buchanan, the London Regional Secretary of the NEU, vowed to “continue to challenge this unfair and draconian decision”.

She said: “The result of the ballot today shows that our members will not stand by and watch those who identify as LGBT+ be singled out for adverse and degrading treatment.

“We will continue to challenge this unfair and draconian decision and fight for respect for all.”

Mr Green also reacted to the strike action, thanking teachers for their support on Twitter: “We have to make a stand against LGBTQ+ book censorship. And these school staff have. I applaud and thank every one of them.

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“But it’s not about me – it’s about the students, LGBT or not, who deserve (and need) to see their realities, and those of their peers, reflected in books.”

The teachers walk out is due to take place over a three-week period starting on April 28, with teachers set to strike for a total of six days, according to the i newspaper.

Mr Green was due to speak at the state school, which is overseen by the Archdiocese of Southwark in March.

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But days before the Archdiocese of Southwark’s education commission “recommended” its cancellation.

Education director Dr Simon Hughes said: “From time to time materials or events emerge for consideration that fall outside the scope of what is permissible in a Catholic school.”

But the school’s leadership team, backed by its governors, had voted for the visit to go ahead.

However, the archdiocese said the visit fell “outside the scope of what is permissible in a Catholic school”.

The diocese removed John Fisher governors – and an “interim executive board” was established.

Reacting to the decision, the Catholic Education Service said: “Catholic schools welcome pupils from all backgrounds. This isolated incident has given a false impression of the inclusive nature of Catholic schools.

“Catholic schools are places where all children can flourish and as such have a zero-tolerance approach to LGBT+ discrimination. Nationally the CES has worked closely with schools, dioceses, and charities to produce Catholic inclusivity guidance and resources for schools that have won acclaim from LGBT+ organisations.

“We would encourage Catholic schools to work closely with their diocese to ensure that all Catholic schools can be welcoming and inclusive centres of learning where everyone is respected as a human being made in the image and likeness of God.”

The Archdiocese of Southwark has been contacted for comment.

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