This week saw the shocking revelation that children as young as 11 have been actively encouraged to sign a petition against the government's plans to allow same sex partners to marry. This didn't take place at home with watchful consent from parents and campaigners didn't demand signatures on the street. Instead, the agenda was pushed in a state-funded school assembly hall.
With the years of endured bullying at secondary school long behind me, I'd almost forgotten that bullying wasn't buried at my school. Amongst the sport, the stage productions and field trips, bullying was and still is infectious across classrooms. Spreading from the top, right down to unsuspecting first years - and recently fuelled by the Catholic Education Service issuing 'guidance' on inequality to over 350 state-funded Catholic Schools.
Why I ticked the Christian box in 2011's census is almost beyond me. I'm not a religious person and never bought into my Sunday school teaching that an omnipresent being created the universe. The BBC does a better job of explaining evolution, but what I do believe in are values that are supposedly at the heart of religion or any modern day society; love, respect, tolerance, honesty and forgiveness.
The Catholic Education Service and the secondary school involved in this scandalous behavior, now being investigated by the Education Secretary Michael Gove, seem to have conveniently forgotten their own values and responsibilities to each and every one of their students regardless of sexuality or belief.
By not presenting a balanced view of the debate on equal marriage, perhaps violating the Equality Act, they encourage intolerance and continue the cycle of bullying in the classroom that spills onto the school bus, backstage at assembly and kicked about the football pitch. The only sanctuary being at home, a solution I was all too familiar with. Stonewall's 2007 'School Report' uncovered almost two thirds (65%) of young lesbian, gay and bisexual students have experienced bullying. Attend a faith school and there's only a twenty five percent chance you won't.
The Financial Services Authority assess banks as to their 'fit and proper-ness' to hold credit licenses and Ofcom is investigating BSkyB as a 'fit and proper' owner of a broadcast license. Tax funded St Philomena Catholic High School and all state-funded schools should be judged (not particularly Christian of me) on their 'fit and proper' bullying and equality policies. No state-funded, or any school for that matter, should be preaching inequality and empowering bullies to do so - particularly when those schools are bankrolled by us.
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