A teacher at a Scottish school has been banned from her profession for two years after making offensive comments about Jesus, including that “Jesus was gay”.
Donna Gilchrist, an employee at Beath High School in Cowdenbeath, Fife, was reported back in 2018 after she made a number of comments in the classroom that drew concern from pupils, parents, and staff at the school.
Her comments included using a racial slur and telling a devout Christian pupil that “Jesus was gay”. On one occasion, she called a red-haired pupil “the ginger one”. In another incident, she played a YouTube video of comedian Sarah Millican where she referenced masturbation.
She also reportedly made fun of a 14-year-old girl with dyslexia in front of her classmates as she struggled to read. One pupil has evidence in which he recalled being “sad” after hearing her describe Jesus as being “fat, black, or gay”
In August, Scotland’s General Teaching Council (GTC) solicitor Jennifer McPhee, who heard the case said according to Dundee Courier that the allegations against Gilchrist were of the utmost seriousness.
The panel struck Gilchrist off her teaching register after conduct found she fell significantly short of the standards expected of a teacher.
In its ruling, it said: “All of the above conduct, if repeated by the teacher, could cause harm to pupils. The panel decided that action needed to be taken in order to protect members of the public, both in terms of the teaching setting and beyond.”
Gilchrist has to wait two years until she can teach again. The council said it wanted her to use the time to reflect on her conduct and “demonstrate insight”.
“The panel considered that a shorter time period was inappropriate as the conduct found proved is very serious,” the GTC said in a written judgment.
McPhee said that while Gilchrist had not broken any laws, her conduct was “most definitely unprofessional”.
“The public would be concerned the teacher had caused so much disruption, upset, and offense during such a short tenure,” she said.
“She has shown no clear understanding of how to teach pupils with additional needs or how to respect the religion of pupils.
“And the level of seriousness is compounded by the lack of insight.