The High Court has upheld a classroom ban on a Christian school teacher who condemned the “homosexual lifestyle” in front of pupils.
In what is believed to be the first case of its kind, a judge rejected an appeal by science teacher Robert Haye against the decision to ban him indefinitely – a decision he says is likely to end his teaching career.
Mr Haye told a Year 11 class of students aged 15-16 that the way homosexual people lived was “disgusting” and a sin, according to the Bible.
He also told Year 9 pupils aged 13-14 on another occasion that “anyone who worships on Sunday is basically worshipping the devil”.
Mr Haye, 43, and his family belong to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which observes Saturday as the Sabbath.
Following his February 2010 comments at Deptford Green School in Lewisham, south-east London, a teaching assistant complained and triggered an investigation.
Mr Haye was sacked from his job at the 1,200-pupil inner city comprehensive.
He was also 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 recommending the ban.
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 after his High Court defeat 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.
Now unemployed and facing a £4,200 legal costs bill, he said: “I will not recant my beliefs. God comes first.”
He added: “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”.