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Teachers go on strike after Catholic school cancels gay author’s book event

by Kelly Valencia
Simon James Green.PNG - Banner image

Teachers at a Catholic school in south London have “overwhelmingly” voted to go on strike after a gay author was banned from visiting pupils on World Book Day. 

Last month, Simon James Green was due to speak and sign books at The John Fisher School, a Catholic boys' secondary school in Croydon, but Southwark Archdiocese, which oversees the school, decided to cancel the event as it fell "outside the scope of what is permissible in a Catholic school".

Now, at least 90 per cent of members of the National Education Union (NEU) at the state school have voted for strike action against “a discriminatory working environment” following a 76 per cent turnout.

 Pauline Buchanan, London Regional Secretary, NEU 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.”

The Archdiocese made redundant several governors who backed the event. 

Green took to social media to thank the members who voted to strike. 

“We have to make a stand against LGBTQ+ book censorship. And these school staff have. I applaud and thank every one of them. 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.”

At the time of the cancellation, the Archdiocese told Premier: “At the heart of every Catholic school sits the person of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Church, and whilst we expect all Catholic schools to remain faithful to the Church’s teaching on human wholeness, this teaching should never cause or foster a culture of bigotry or intolerance. 

“More to the point, hatred and discrimination is in itself contrary to Church teaching as it fundamentally disrespects the God-given dignity of each human life. It is deeply regrettable therefore, that the action taken by the Archdiocese to ensure the material put in front of children was age-appropriate, has given the impression that the John Fisher school is anything other than an inclusive centre of learning that allows young people to flourish.”

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