Religious leaders object to 'LGBT week' at school
A group of religious leaders in Dublin has formally complained to education chiefs about the staging of an 'LGBT week' at a secondary school in the run-up to the Marriage Equality referendum.
Representatives of Christian and Muslim communities penned a joint letter to the Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board which highlights a number of concerns about events held at the Colaiste Pobal Setanta in West Dublin last month.
As part of the LGBT week, students were invited to take part in a number of workshops and attend a flag- raising ceremony attended by Health Minister and local TD Leo Varadkar.
However, a number of parents are understood to have complained that their children were asked to engage in activities which they did not feel comfortable doing, including the wearing of LGBT ribbons.
The school authorities insisted the events were designed to promote equality and had nothing to do with the upcoming referendum.
"We thought it was important to state to all members of the school community that LGBT students are also welcome here, and that they have the same right to feel safe and happy here and to be able to concentrate on learning without any fear of bullying and discrimination," the school stated in a letter seen by the Irish Independent.
"We did not discuss sexuality, we did not discuss the upcoming referendum and there was absolutely no propaganda of any sort involved in what we organised."
However, in a letter to the relevant education board, 11 religious leaders, who claim to represent 80 pupils at the school, have called for the claims by some pupils and parents to be investigated.
The authors of the letter are also pastors of Muslim and Christian churches attended by pupils at the school.
"We do not feel that any LGBT week whatsoever is suitable for a school environment. If an LGBT week can be held, then a heterosexual week should be held. Would this make the LGBT people in the school feel uncomfortable? Of course it would," the letter states.
"Why should anyone then think that an LGBT week will not make the heterosexual students feel uncomfortable? It is completely naive not to realise this basic fact. These are opposite sides of the same coin," it adds.
The claims will now be examined by the body that oversees the school in question.
The school did not respond to a series of questions and a request for comment.