Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Parents criticize school for promotion of gay youth event

 Parents of a pupil at St. Patrick’s Grammar in Armagh have lodged a complaint with the school after their son was asked to display material promoting a gay youth forum event.

It was reported a teacher in the all-boys’ school asked the pupil to put up a poster advertising Northern Ireland’s first LGBTQ+ Youth Forum, which was held in Belfast on Saturday.  The teenager refused and later informed his parents who subsequently instructed their solicitor to write a letter of complaint to the school.

Speaking anonymously to the Irish News, the boy’s father angrily criticized the school: “We are sending our children to get a Catholic education in a renowned Catholic school.  It’s promoting a lifestyle that we vehemently disagree with,” he said.

The Youth Forum event was organised by the voluntary support group, Cara-Friend, whose director Declan Meehan said it was “highly regrettable” that the parents felt it necessary to issue a solicitor’s letter. 

Praising St Patrick’s Grammar as a “fine example of true Christian ethos” which had “the wellbeing of its students at the heart of its mission”, Mr Meehan added: “The reality is that there are LGBTQ+ students in this school.  This poster could potentially have given support and information to someone who really needs it and, in the balancing of rights, that would outweigh any objections this one family could have as it does not detract from any rights or protections afforded them.”

The school said it did not wish to comment on the matter.