CORNWALL, U.K. — A school in the U.K. apologized on Monday in reaching an agreement with a teaching assistant who planned to file a legal challenge against a disciplinary warning she was issued for answering a student’s questions on homosexuality in accordance with her Christian beliefs.
Victoria Allen, 51, was to have asked an employment tribunal to overturn the action taken against her by Brannel School in St. Austell, but reports state that the matter was settled without needing intervention.
According to a video released by the group Christian Concern, Allen, who supervises special needs children at the secondary school, was posed several questions while explaining an English lesson to students.
“I was asked to take three students to a classroom to complete their English worksheet, so we went into the next classroom and I started to explain to them what is needed for the worksheet,” Allen explains in the footage. “As we started doing the work, one of the students, who is very inquisitive, asked me if he could asked me a question.”
She assumed that the question would be about the lesson, but was instead asked three questions relating to homosexuality.
“The first question was about same-sex relationships. The second question was whether the rainbow meant the same or something different,” Allen recalled. “The third question was whether I believed what the pope believed.”
The teaching assistant then answered the questions in accordance with her biblical beliefs, and the student was satisfied with the response.
The following day, Allen was called into the head teacher’s office, where she was informed that she was being placed under investigation.
“[H]e presented me with a letter and said that he’d received a complaint and that while an investigation was going to go ahead, all my duties and responsibilities within the school [were] going to be suspended, and I was only allowed to talk to children, supervise them, and continue my roles when I was supervised by another adult,” she explained.
As a result of the investigation, Allen was issued a disciplinary warning, which she appealed. However, the Board of Governors upheld the decision.
On Monday, Allen spent part of the day in Bodmin Magistrates’ Court working out an agreement with officials at Brannel School. According to the BBC, she told reporters afterward that she had been made to “feel like a criminal” simply for answering the questions in accordance with her “personal, biblical beliefs.”
“We know that there are lots of people who disagree with the Biblical view of marriage and they are free to disagree,” also said Libby Powell of the Christian Legal Centre. “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.”
The school released a statement following the agreement outlining that head teacher Andy Edmonds “recognized 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.”