High Court backs ban against teacher who condemned 'homosexual lifestyle'

 

The High Court has upheld a classroom ban on a Christian school teacher who condemned the "homosexual lifestyle" in front of pupils.

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, a judge rejected an appeal by science teacher Robert Haye against the decision to ban him indefinitely - a decision he says is likely to end his teaching career.

Mr Haye told a Year 11 class of students aged 15-16 that the way homosexual people lived was "disgusting" and a sin, according to the Bible.

He also told Year 9 pupils aged 13-14 on another occasion that "anyone who worships on Sunday is basically worshipping the devil".

Mr Haye, 43, and his family belong to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which observes Saturday as the Sabbath.

Following his February 2010 comments at Deptford Green School in Lewisham, south-east London, a teaching assistant complained and triggered an investigation.

Mr Haye was sacked from his job at the 1,200-pupil inner city comprehensive.

He was also prohibited from teaching at any school or sixth form college last July after the Education Secretary backed a decision of regulatory body The Teaching Agency recommending the ban.

Mr Justice King rejected his appeal at London's High Court, saying the ban was justified because Mr Haye had shown lack of insight when he made his "inappropriate" comments and was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

Mr Haye can apply to return to the classroom after two years. But he said after his High Court defeat he thought his teaching career in the UK was over because he was not prepared to give up his religious beliefs - and the right to express them - in order to teach again.

Now unemployed and facing a £4,200 legal costs bill, he said: "I will not recant my beliefs. God comes first."

He added: "Christians are now being persecuted in this country for believing in the Bible.

"That cannot be. We have a right to believe and express what we believe, but people are now afraid of being punished for not being politically correct.

"This country is a free and democratic society, but is it? Is it really?"

Robert Ogilvy, representing Mr Haye in court, said that no students had been distressed or offended by his comments and he had been responding to their questions, rather than propagating his Bible beliefs.

As well as science, Mr Haye taught personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) and had a reputation as a good teacher.

Mr Ogilvy argued the teaching ban was "fundamentally unreasonable, unfair and disproportionate".

It violated Mr Haye's right to freedom of speech and freedom of religious belief under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr Ogilvy said the prohibition order would in reality amount to a life ban from teaching because Mr Haye was not prepared to "denounce or renounce" Bible teachings.

Dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice King said it was "misconceived and must fail".

The judge said: "This case is not about the right of a teacher to hold sincerely-held beliefs based on the Bible in relation to homosexuality or attendance at church on Sundays.

"It has been about how those beliefs and views are manifested in the context of teaching in schools with young people with diverse sexuality, backgrounds and beliefs."

The judge said Deptford Green had a policy which made it clear that teachers were expected to present positive information on lesbians, gays and bisexuals "to enable students to challenge derogatory stereotypes and prejudice".

The policy was part of "modern British values of tolerance", said the judge.

The human rights convention allowed limitations to be placed on free speech and religious belief in order to protect the rights of others, and in this case the limitations were "undoubtedly proportionate".

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable