West Lothian pupil claims school made him remove Pride badge for 'promoting' homosexuality

A 16-year-old pupil from St Kentigern’s Academy in Blackburn was told to take off a Pride badge from his school uniform because it “promotes” homosexuality

A PUPIL FROM a school in West Lothian has claimed he was told not to wear a Pride badge on his school uniform because it “promotes” homosexuality.

The 16-year-old student, who attends St Kentigern’s Academy in Blackburn, West Lothian, was wearing the badge on his uniform after attending the Edinburgh Pride march last week.

The pupil, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Pink News that the instructions about not wearing the badge came from the head teacher, Mr Sharkey.

He said: “I was given no reason why, then after I got upset about it, I was told by the teacher who told me to take it off that the school had ‘no problem’ with me being gay, but however I’m ‘promoting’ it by wearing the badge.

“I was given no reason why, then after I got upset about it, I was told by the teacher who told me to take it off that the school had ‘no problem’ with me being gay, but however I’m ‘promoting’ it by wearing the badge.” Student from St Kentigern’s Academy

“I told them that I was refusing to take it off which was fed back to the head teacher. I was then told by another senior member of staff, whom I had a really good dialogue with, the exact same thing.”

A West Lothian Council spokesperson said that all pupils from St Kentigern’s Academy are asked to remove all non-school related badges from their uniforms in accordance with the school’s uniform policy.

The school promotes “love, faith, equality, inclusiveness, hope and respect” across the campus, and the pupil said he felt that the school was the only place he could display his sexuality because he had not told his parents.

However, he said a senior member of staff told him he had no need to wear a badge: “I wore the badge because it was the only place where I feel safe about my sexuality, and she told me ‘you don’t need to wear a badge for that’.”

“The suggestion that the wearing of a Pride badge is "promoting homosexuality" is not only incorrect but offensive.” Tie campaign spokesperson

A West Lothian spokesperson said: “West Lothian Council is committed to equal rights for LGBT people, and is the main supporter of West Lothian Pride. We are also a Stonewall Diversity Champion for our work to promote inclusivity.”

The Time for Inclusion Education (Tie) campaign, which campaigns for LGBT-inclusive education in schools, said it was disappointed but not surprised by the claims emerging from St Kentigern’s Academy.

A Tie spokesperson said: “For almost two years now we have been campaigning for an LGBTI inclusive educational approach in all schools to help eradicate homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. A crucial aspect of our work is challenging negative or prejudicial attitudes towards LGBTI learners. 

“Schools can take the lead here, and a central part of their efforts should be around encouraging visibility - alongside a whole school approach towards LGBTI inclusion. The suggestion that the wearing of a Pride badge is ‘promoting homosexuality’ is not only incorrect, but offensive. 

“If a school believes that celebrating love and equality is something to be hidden, serious questions need to be asked about that school.” Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon

“We would urge the school in question to rethink their approach here, and we would be more than happy to work alongside them in order to help create a more inclusive environment for all of their staff and pupils.”

Scottish Labour’s inequalities spokesperson, Monica Lennon, said: “Sadly LGBTI inclusive education is still a right to be fought for in Scotland's schools.

“If a school believes that celebrating love and equality is something to be hidden, serious questions need to be asked about that school.

“The Scottish Government must work at pace towards enshrining LGBTI inclusive education in law to prevent more young people being failed.”

“Our education system must support all Scotland’s young people to reach their full potential and we established the LGBTI inclusive education working group to examine how the education experience for LGBTI young people in Scotland can be improved.” Scottish Government spokesperson

Currently, the Scottish Government does not have any statutory curriculum guidance for children, parents and schools to deal with LGBT+ issues, but the LGBTI inclusive education working group was announced by Deputy First Minister John Swinney last April.

This follows on from the SNP spring conference in March, where delegates called on the Scottish Government to set up a working group, in conjunction with Tie, to take forward the group’s pledges.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Our education system must support all of Scotland’s young people to reach their full potential, and we established the LGBTI inclusive education working group to examine how the education experience for LGBTI young people in Scotland can be improved.

“The working group, which includes education leaders such as the EIS, equalities experts and young people, as well as representatives of the Tie campaign, met for the first time in May. We look forward to receiving its recommendations in due course.”

Other organisations taking part in the working group include Cosla, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Education Scotland and Stonewall Scotland.

Picture courtesy of The Pink News

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Comments

MrGAW

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 11:16

Another tiresome example of homosexuals scratching around looking for some non-issue to "play the victim" over.

All schools have a uniform policy and are quite within their rights to enforce it. I am sure the school would have acted similarly if the badge had been promoting (for example) some other political message, or a football team, or band. Non-school related badges are not part of the uniform. This is the chief issue.

The pupil claims the school is the only place he can "display his sexuality" because he has not told his parents yet.

These claims don't add up - as is often the case around claimed homosexual victim-hood - because if his parents don't know, then he must be removing the badge himself when he goes home at night.

Fundamentally , he is at the school to learn, not to advertise his confused sexuality. The schools duty to him extends to providing a good education, ensuring equal opportunity to learn / participate and ensuring he is free from bullying. It doesn't extend to publicly condoning dysfunctional sexual behaviour.

Additionally, as is normal with these kinds of non-story, you would think it was only "LGBTQIA" persons who have rights.

In fact we all have rights and need to respect each others. The Catholic school in question exists because families have a right to having their children educated in accordance with their Christian values. This doesn't extend to normalising homosexuality.

Anyone is welcome at a Catholic school, where they will be given equal opportunity and treated with respect. In return, they must respect Catholic values and the ethos of the school.

This doesn't entail 100% enforced agreement on every issued, but simply respecting the rights of others to think differently (especially given the Catholic position on homosexuality is 100% accurate) and avoiding conflict -
especially contrived conflict, as in this case.

if the pupil cannot reciprocate the respect he is given, then perhaps it would be better for him to leave and find a school more to his liking.

We are told this is about being "inclusive" - in fact its really about propaganda. Facts regarding homosexuality are the last thing homosexual campaigners want aired in public, rather they want their own viewpoint imposed at the expense of facts.

Its also indicative that this one-sided report focused on "claims" rather than facts, as well as the fact that everyone seems to have been allowed comment except the school and the SCES.

MrGAW

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 11:41

Recalling my own experience at a Catholic secondary school in the early 1990s:

The topic of homosexuality was broached in RE class. The main thrust of the lessons were that having same-sex attractions did not make someone a bad person and that such people should always be treated with the same respect and dignity as anyone else.

There were even exercises encouraging us to think how someone might feel on the eve of telling others about their sexuality and to try to empathise with their situation. We were encouraged to consider how we might reassure a friend in such a situation, and - of course - remain their friend.

Anyone claiming a Catholic school is a fundamentally hostile place for persons with homosexual tendencies is a liar, pure and simple (either that, or ignorant of reality). its an especially puerile claim when it can only point to "claims" about a non-official badge on school uniforms to support it.

I expect such tolerance and respect was sector-leading back in the early 90s and I expect still is today

What was notable about my experience in retrospect was that it only included the cuddly aspects of Catholic teaching. it didnt confront the hard truth aspect, that -
thanks to human biology - we know that homosexuality is a disordered sexuality which is often harmful to persons who indulge in homosexual acts (as shown by various health statistics).

if campaigners want more than acceptance and respect, then I would have to insist that the topic is discussed in its entireity, in order to bring some balance and factual basis. (two things generally lacking whenever homosexuality rears its head in discussion).

Tolerance and respect are good things, but they extend only to persons, not the sexual behaviour of persons.

Watty

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 19:24

Is there no moderation on Commonspace? Are the ignorant, hompophobic comments posted above allowed to remain?

MrGAW

Mon, 06/26/2017 - 21:10

Hi Watty,

I am sorry that you find my contributions to be "ignorant, homophobic comments".

Could you please explain why this is, as I am at something of a loss there?

I have advocated a mutual respect and accommodation. I think that is wholly reasonably, as not everyone in society will ever agree on every last point.

On this issue, I think we should strive to understand one another's point of view, especially where those views are based on facts - such as how human bodies work.

I do not think that calling for views to be censored for unspecified reasons is helpful, and smacks of the desire to impose views upon people which I mentioned in my original post.

Any kind of prejudice is wrong and everyone should be treated with respect, but I think attacking people for the 'crime' of having a clear understanding of human sexuality is form of prejudice in itself.

Watty

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 20:58

You honestly don't see where the problem is? How about I list some of them?

1) You claim his sexuality is 'confused'. What is confused about it? Is your, I'm assuming, heterosexual sexuality confused or does that only apply to homosexuality?

2) You refer to homosexuality as dysfunctional sexual behaviour

3) You don't believe schools should 'normalise' homosexuality

4) You call it a 'disordered' sexuality

You are a homophobic bigot.

MrGAW

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 15:19

Hi Watty,

No, I didn't see where the problem is - because there isn't one. I did not express any dislike of persons due to them being attracted to the same sex. I only spoke of the nature of homosexuality.

Of the items you list, none represent dislike or prejudice, but simply an appraisal of homosexual behaviour, viewed through the prism of human biology.

1) His sexuality is confused. His body is physically and biologically compatible with bodies of the opposite sex (as per all human bodies). Yet, he is attracted to persons of the same sex, whose bodies are not physically and biologically compatible with his own. A clear dichotomy exists. There is a conflict between the form and function of his body and his attractions, hence confused.

2) There are purposes inherent in the human sexual function. These purposes find fulfillment when sexuality is properly employed. For example, when the sperm produced by a mans body fertilises an egg produced by a female body. But in the homosexual context, the biological sexual functions of the body become erroneous. They cannot be fulfilled. They cannot work properly in such a context, hence dysfunctional.

3) I think schools should teach tolerance / acceptance of "LGBT" people, as part of advocating tolerance / acceptance of all people ("LGBT" people aren't special in that regard). But sexual behaviour which is against the form and function of the human body could never be considered "normal". Normal sexual behaviour is that which is fully commensurate with the human body and how it works.

4) It is a disordered sexuality, its acts are contrary to the form and function of the human body. You know those shape sorting toys for children? if a child tried to put the square shape through the circular hole, no-one would say "that's right" or "that's equally valid" - because its not, it's a situation of disorder.

None of this is up for debate, these are facts.

You end with calling me a "homophobic bigot" which is as unfair as it is absurd. It isn't bigotry to properly understand human sexuality. Generally people resort to such comments when they realise they have no arguments against the facts.

Its important to properly understand things, because there is meaning in sexuality, as in all aspects of life.

And just as society at large has been called to show more tolerance and acceptance to "LGBT" persons, so must "LGBT" persons show intellectual honesty and maturity regarding these facts.

Being angry at people because they respect facts wont get society anywhere.

Watty

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 17:29

The Yes movement will be embarrassed to have bigots like you onside.

ejfj's picture

ejfj

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 16:44

Thanks, Watty! MrGaw, you are a dinosaur, a bigoted homophobe. How dare you tell me my sexuality is disordered! As you self-evidently do not understand the problem, that means two things: (a) you're part of it (the problem), and (b) you should keep your nasty, ignorant and offensive opinions to yourself.

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