Stonewall has denied advising a Catholic school on student’s ‘gay’ shoes.
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Wimbledon, south-west London, called on Stonewall to help students and teachers about dealing with homophobia.
Several newspapers reported the head teacher Sarah Crouch rang Stonewall after a five-year-old boy called another student’s shoes ‘gay’, a claim both the charity and the school denies.
Luke Tryl, Stonewall’s Education Officer, told Gay Star News the school approached them to provide the school with support.
‘It wasn’t in response to the shoes at all,’ he said. ‘This was helping staff talk to pupils about language like “that’s so gay”. It was general.’
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School is a member of Stonewall’s School Champions programme, which includes about half a dozen Catholic schools and helps teachers challenge homophobia in schools across the country.
Crouch said: ‘That incident did not happen. We log all incidents of homophobic language use and that is not in there. We contacted a variety of people who give advice on who to use to provide training.’
She added: ‘We want to give our staff the tools to know what to do should an incident of homophobic bullying occur.
‘It is important that children know it’s not ok to use the word gay in a derogatory way.’
Anti-gay family campaigners criticized the use of a gay rights charity to provide training in a Catholic school.
Antonia Tully, national coordinator of the Safe At School campaign, told The Telegraph: ‘Many parents will be very concerned that a gay rights organisation is considered to be an appropriate source of advice on how to deal with children using inappropriate language in the playground.
‘If a primary school takes on Stonewall’s agenda, young children will be exposed to homosexual issues which they are too young to understand properly.
‘Parents expect a school to provide an education, not subject their children to gay propaganda.’
In a recent poll, it found 93% of parents believe homophobic bullying should be tackled at school.
The Catholic Education Service (CES) has also provided guidance on homosexuality in schools.
The CES states: ‘They (homosexuals) must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.
‘Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.’