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Rev Dr Bernard Randall chaplain Trent College CC.jpg header2.jpg
Rev Dr Bernard Randall chaplain Trent College CC.jpg
Christian Concern
UK News

Sacked school chaplain sues for discrimination, harassment

by Tola Mbakwe

A Church of England chaplain has taken legal action against the headteacher of the school that sacked him.

In 2019, Trent College reported Rev Dr Bernard Randall to Prevent, the government’s counter-terrorism watchdog.  His legal team says the move came after he delivered a sermon encouraging children to question the school's LGBT+ policies.

The Derbyshire school describes itself as an independent school with a CofE ethos.  During a sermon Rev Randall encouraged students to keep an open mind, and that it was acceptable to hold traditional views on marriage, sex and gender identity.  He says his message came after an LGBT group had been invited to the school, to provide training in same-sex education to teachers, including nursery. 

Prevent concluded that his conduct did not require any further investigation. However, Rev Randall was fired his role as chaplain at the school.  The 51-year-old claims that he has been blacklisted by the Church as a result and has been prevented from giving a public sermon since 2020.

He is suing Trent College headteacher Bill Penty, for victimisation, continued harassment and discrimination on the grounds of his Christian beliefs.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Rev Randall, said: “It should be of concern to everyone when a mild-mannered vicar ends up being reported as a safeguarding risk for saying you can believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

“Bernard’s case shows vividly the intolerance of 'tolerance'. We need more teachers and chaplains, like Bernard, working with children - not less.”

In a previous interview with Premier Christian News, Rev Randall said his world "fell apart" after learning he was regarded as a potential terrorist.

He says the school had never expressed any concerns about him prior to the sermon.  

In a response to the allegations, Rev Randall said he was sharing Christian beliefs, and “modelling and upholding the fundamental British values by showing the value of free speech and freedom of religion.”

Rev Randall took Trent College to an employment tribunal over the situation last year.  A judge ruled against his claims in February. He has appealed the ruling.

Headteacher Bill Penty has referred Rev Randall to the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) asking for an investigation into professional misconduct.

The TRA decided to not take forward a case against him. A decision from the DBS is still pending.

Rev Randall said: “You can no longer teach or encourage debate among children or adults that there are any viewpoints other than embracing full-on LGBT+ ideology. This is untenable in a truly free and democratic country, and every teacher, pupil and parent should be concerned about the ideology being forced onto schools, often without parents having any knowledge of it. 

“I’d love to move on with my life, but now have no choice but to continue to fight for justice.”

Premier has contacted Trent College for a statement.  The Diocese of Derby said that Rev Randall was employed by the school, and not by the diocese, but that "because of ongoing and outstanding legal issues" they are unable to comment further at this time.

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