A British school has issued an apology for disciplining a Christian teaching assistant who shared her convictions on homosexuality after a student asked for her opinion on same-sex marriage.
Headlines emerged after 51-year-old teacher’s assistant Victoria Allen was issued a written warning from the administration at Brannel School in Cornwall because she told one of her 14-year-old autistic students that she didn’t agree with same-sex relationships and disapproves of how the rainbow flag is commonly used to promote the LGBT agenda.
Allen has maintained that she only told the student about her view on marriage after she was asked about her personal religious beliefs. She explained the ordeal in a video posted by the group Christian Concern.
In the video, Allen said that when she was trying to help three students complete an English worksheet, one inquisitive student asked her three questions.
“The first question was about same-sex relationships. The second question was whether the rainbow meant the same or something different,” Allen said in the video. “The third question was whether I believed what the pope believed.”
“I answered all three questions based on my belief of the Bible,” she continued. “At the end of the lesson he prepared his things to go home. The student was happy, relaxed, just normal, there was no behavior or attitude. I gave him merit and feedback on his work and we left.”
Specifically, Allen told the student that she didn’t believe same-sex marriage was right.
“I said that I didn’t believe it was right in same-sex marriage based on my biblical beliefs,” Allen, who has taught students with special needs at the school for five years, told BBC. “I do believe that the rainbow means something different, that it’s God’s sign that he won’t flood the world again.”
The day after telling the student about her beliefs on marriage, the school received a complaint from the student’s mother. The school then gave Allen a 12-month written warning after conducting an investigation.
After receiving the warning, Allen threatened to take the school to court, telling the Sunday Times that she “felt like a criminal” for sharing her deeply-held biblical convictions when asked by a student.
“It’s taken away any trust I had,” Allen said. “It’s made me more cautious.”
With the help of the Christian Legal Centre, Allen and the school were able to reach an agreement out of court on Monday during a meeting at the Bodmin Magistrates Court, according to BBC.
“Vicky was asked a question about her personal opinion and so she gave her personal opinion to the student,” Libby Powell with the Christian Legal Centre told BBC. “Obviously, we know there are lots of people who disagree with the biblical view of marriage and they are free to disagree. What we want to say is that there has to be space for the other point of view — Vicky’s point of view — to be there as well.”
According to BBC, a joint statement issued after the agreement was reached explains that the school’s head teacher Andy Edmonds “recognised Victoria Allen’s right to share her Christian beliefs with students and has apologized for any upset that Victoria Allen may have felt during the disciplinary process.”