Teacher urged to talk about marriage beliefs sacked for 'hate speech'

A Christian teacher, 55, is urged to talk about his beliefs on marriage — then is sacked the next day for ‘hate speech’

  • Ben Dybowski, 55, was urged to give his views during a training course

A teacher was encouraged to share his Christian beliefs at a seminar – then dismissed for ‘hate speech’.

Ben Dybowski, 55, was urged to give his views during a training course delivered by a Left-wing charity to reduce ‘unconscious bias’ among teachers.

During the ‘diversity and inclusion’ discussion about how to avoid offending pupils, teaching assistant Mr Dybowski challenged the group over whether his Christian beliefs were considered discriminatory.

He told them that he believed marriage was between a man and a woman, that life began at conception and that he was opposed to some aspects of sharia law such as the stoning of men for homosexuality.

Next morning he said he was summoned before headmaster Marc Belli, then ejected from The Bishop of Llandaff Church in Wales school, near Cardiff.

He said this was despite Mr Belli saying privately he shared many of the same Christian values. 

Ben Dybowski, 55, was urged to give his views during a training course delivered by a Left-wing charity to reduce ‘unconscious bias’ among teachers

READ MORE: Christian teacher jailed after refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns is told he will remain behind bars for Christmas after telling court he should not be punished for his views on ‘transgenderism’

Enoch Burke (pictured on September 5 being brought into the Bridewell Garda station in Garda custody) was arrested in September for breaching a court order not to teach at his Westmeath school, or be physically present there

Last night, Mr Dybowski called his dismissal an attack on Christianity and ‘an affront to freedom of speech and freedom of thought’.

He said of the seminar: ‘We were told it was a safe space and encouraged to speak freely.’

Grandfather Mr Dybowski, who has taught for two decades, insists he never discussed his views with pupils and was always respectful of those with different opinions. The mandatory seminar was run by Diverse Cymru, which trains teachers on ‘workforce diversity practice’, ‘unconscious bias’ and ‘trans, gender identity and gender expression awareness’.

It was given by policy manager Ele Hicks who describes herself as a ‘bisexual activist and change champion’ and is involved with the controversial charity Stonewall. More than 80 staff attended the event in the school’s main assembly hall, but no pupils were present.

When the seminar was opened up to a question and answer session, Mr Dybowski asked whether his Christian beliefs – that marriage is between man and woman and that life begins at conception – were considered discriminatory.

He also asked whether it was a problem that certain aspects of Islam, such as parts of sharia law and the stoning to death of women for adultery, concerned him. ‘I asked if a mere expression of someone’s religious beliefs can be regarded as discrimination,’ he said.

After his dismissal Mr Dybowski said he turned to Diverse Cymru for advice, but was allegedly told it could not help in individual cases.

During the heated meeting in which he was dismissed, Mr Dybowski claims Mr Belli said that while he was free to hold conservative Christian views, he could not express them as they went against school policy. Mr Belli previously faced criticism from parents after he installed £20,000 open plan, gender-neutral toilets.

Mr Dybowski started at the school through an agency last October.

Toby Young, general secretary of the Free Speech Union, said: ‘The way Ben has been treated is outrageous. Had he been an employee of the school, not taken on through the agency, he’d have an open and shut case for unfair dismissal.

‘My advice to Mr Belli is to apologise. Discrimination based on religion or belief breaches the Equality Act. Damages aren’t capped and individuals can be held liable.’

Mr Dybowski fears his teaching career may be over after his employer referred his case to the Education Workforce Council, which regulates teachers in Wales. EWC investigations can take up to eight months. Last night, the EWC said it could not comment on individual cases. Teachers’ son Mr Dybowski grew up in Poland but has lived in Britain for almost two decades. He said: ‘I remember well the final decade of communism there, with all of the limits on liberty and free speech. Sadly, some things in Britain now remind me of that period.’

Mr Belli said Mr Dybowski was engaged through the agency on a daily basis to provide relief cover.

He added: ‘His work did not come to an end due to his holding any particular religious beliefs or political views.

‘This was a safeguarding issue, which the school moved promptly to address, and it is entirely proper that the school did so to prevent the risk of harm to the children entrusted to it.

‘The school’s actions were taken on the basis of evidence that Mr Dybowski was unwilling to comply with the law and policies of the school, as a result of his views.’

He added: ‘Whatever views we may privately hold, when we choose to take on a position of trust, caring for the children of Christian and non-Christian families, we choose to take on certain responsibilities as to how we act.’

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