Principal repeatedly insulted gay student


Teacher to be compensated after principal insulted gay son

A primary school teacher will receive compensation over comments made by the school principal about her son’s sexual orientation.

The teacher took a case against the board of management of a Church of Ireland school in the West of Ireland.

The Equality Tribunal ruled in favour of the teacher and ordered the school to pay £3,000 compensation.

The learning support and resource teacher said she was discriminated against because she was not a practising Church of Ireland teacher and because her son is gay.

She said that since she began working at the school on 1 November 2006, there has been an ongoing issue with comments made by the principal relating to her religion and her son’s sexual orientation.

The teacher said the principal remarked that a “normal boy” would not spend an afternoon shopping for clothes.

She also referred to a valedictory service held in the local secondary school where her son made a humorous reference to being gay while wearing a pink blazer.

The following week the principal reportedly said the speech and her son’s attire were not appropriate. She also questioned what kind of mother the teacher was to have a son like that. The teacher added that the principal was critical of her son, saying he was gay in a church setting. She said a colleague told her about the principal making similar comments about her son on other occasions.

The teacher said the principal also criticised the behaviour of Catholics in church, calling children of Church of Ireland faith “our children” and the “right people”. On another occasion, the principal allegedly described two families as having no breeding and the complainant attributed this statement as referring to the fact they were being Catholic.

During the tribunal, the chair of the board of management outlined that the board were not aware of the issues encountered by the complainant, noting that once they found out, in September 2013, they “reacted as best they could”.

The teacher said she was looking for an acknowledgement that what had happened was wrong and sought no financial compensation.

The tribunal noted that, in the ordinary course of events, this case would attract “a significant award of damages”.

The ruling officer said an award of €3,000 is merited, and ordered all staff and members of the board of management participate in training on equality, discrimination and harassment.

© 2016 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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