Anti-gay Deptford teacher Robert Haye's ban upheld

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

A judge rejected an appeal by Deptford Green School science teacher Robert Haye against his indefinite ban.

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

The teacher said the ban has effectively ended his career.

'Worshipping the devil'

The 43-year-old and his family belong to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which observes Saturday as the Sabbath.

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

Following his February 2010 comments at the 1,200-pupil school in Lewisham, south-east London, a teaching assistant complained.

He was sacked and 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.

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 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.

Christians 'afraid'

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

"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."

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 teachers were expected to present positive information on lesbians, gays and bisexuals "to enable students to challenge derogatory stereotypes and prejudice".

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