Northern Ireland abortion: Dalriada School launches ‘critical incident’ probe into pro-life display

Dalriada School in Ballymoney has begun a “critical incident” investigation after a pro-life display was erected on its Christian Union notice board.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 3:54 pm
Pro choice campaigners backed by Amnesty International pictured at Stormont. Photo: Stephen Hamilton /Presseye

The issue came to the fore on the Nolan Show after the school’s Christian Union notice board was blacked out and a small pro-life hashtag was added, #DarkestDay.

The display is understood to have been erected to coincide with the date on which abortion was decriminalised in Northern Ireland.

However a complaint, apparently written by former pupils to the board of governors, claimed the display would give offence to any LGBT pupils in the school, as the same date marked the legalisation of same sex marriage in Northern Ireland. “Those responsible showed a clear and abhorrent disregard for the wider school community,” the letter said.

Tom Skelton, head teacher at Dalriada School, said it was an “horrendous error of judgment”. He told the News Letter a member of staff had erected the display without the knowledge of the Christian Union or him and that the school had begun a “critical incident” investigation - normally reserved for a death in the school - because a number of students had felt “hurt” by the display.

But Peter Lynas of the Evangelical Alliance told the BBC that freedom of religion and freedom of expression were protected under the European Convention of Human Rights.

“We are concerned by the school’s response and the impact his might have on the staff and pupils involved but also for the climate across schools here,” he added.

Peter Lynas, NI Director, Evangelical Alliance.