A Christian teacher in England was reported as a “radicalisation threat” and then fired after answering her students’ questions about her beliefs.
The teacher with 17 years’ experience was fired for “gross misconduct” following a discussion in her T2 Apprenticeship Academy classroom in Bristol last year. Svetlana Powell was also prohibited from appealing her dismissal, Life Site News reported.
UK 2018: Christian teacher fired and referred to anti-terrorism unit after answering students’ questions on homosexuality with Christian opinions including ‘God loves everybody.’ https://t.co/cchClkZg8D
— David Kurten ن (@davidkurten) February 6, 2018
According to the Bristol Employment Tribunal, Powell said a disruptive student who had been warned about his behavior throughout the school day, confronted the teacher about her personal beliefs in an “argumentative” way. After being asked her views on homosexuality, the teacher responded that as a Christian, she “personally” believed it was against God’s will but that He loved everyone the same, regardless of their actions.
“I decided to use the students’ interest in the subject and to have a discussion to accommodate the activities included in the lesson plan,” Powell said. “I considered the topic appropriate, as the discussion about Christian views would contribute in raising cultural issues of our day and awareness of the religion of this country.”
The disruptive student informed Powell that another student was a lesbian, prompting the teacher to turn to that pupil and say God loved her. After a heated discussion, the student who had originally been warned about his behavior left the classroom with four others, eventually speaking to the Academy manager, Liz Barker.
Life Site News reported:
The Academy’s Chief Safeguarding Officer, Sian Prigg, told the Tribunal that after a group of students complained that they were “brainwashed and preached to”, she decided to contact the local coordinator for Prevent – the government’s ‘counter-terrorism’ strategy group – to report the incident. Mrs Powell said she did not know of being reported as a “radicalisation threat” until she brought a legal claim against the Academy and read Mrs Prigg’s witness statement for the Tribunal.
Powell is being supported by Christian Legal Centre in her loss of earnings lawsuit against Marr Corporation, the private firm that runs the government-funded college. CLC lawyer, Pavel Stroilov, told the court Powell was fired because of her Christian beliefs, arguing that her treatment was “in stark contrast” to how students’ complaints were handled in regard to another teacher, an “outspoken left-wing atheist.”
That teacher, Andrew Spargo, still retains his job at the school even though students complained that he spent most of his time in class “preaching to them on the daily basis about how terrible England is and how many innocent people the government has killed, as well as why Jesus never existed.”
Spargo was put on probation for three months, Stroilov noted, adding that “he continues to teach at the Academy, and for all we know, carries on with anti-Christian and anti-British indoctrination of students.”
“By contrast, Mrs Powell was dismissed on the spot for much milder comments. In my submission, we have proven today that this was because her views are Christian,” he told the tribunal.
“We are seeing a worrying trend of cases such as this,” CLC CEO Andrea Williams said. “The fact that Svetlana was reported to Prevent for holding Christian views is a sign of our times. It shows how Prevent will be used to punish innocent and soft targets. A radical rethink is required.”
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