National school ordered to compensate teacher who was harassed because her son is gay

The Equality Tribunal found she had been harassed and discriminated against

St Paul’s National School in Collooney, Co. Sligo has been ordered to compensate a resource teacher after the Equality Tribunal found that the woman had been harassed on religious grounds and discriminated against because her son was gay.

The principal of the school denies these allegations and the chair of the board of management told the tribunal it responded to the allegations “as best they could”.

Bernie Marron, took the case against the primary school and she spoke to Newstalk Lunchtime today about the compensation and the treatment of her son.

She said: "Initially, there would have been occasional comments and asides.

"It was after the valedictory speech that my son gave that the comments became quite pointed and the Principal was very upset by the content of my son's speech.

"She was very upset that he said he was gay in a church. She was very upset about his clothing or commented that his clothing was inappropriate because he wore a pink blazer.

"She asked me what kind of a mother I was to have a son like that."

The Principal denied the allegations and expressed shock that the comments were made. Ms Marron has not received an apology, although she has stated that she would accept an apology.

Ms Marron said she is glad she took the case but that she is not gloating. "I lost a job that I really liked," she said. "I feel let down by a system."

You can listen back to her interview here: