A head teacher has been forced to quit because he is divorced and remarried.
Once again proving that it’s out of touch with modern life, the Roman Catholic church wielded its power over a tiny primary school.
Lyndon Strong is currently the acting head at St Mary’s in Gosport, Hampshire, but will have to leave at the end of term.
He’s been a popular figure among pupils, parents and teachers, but Phillip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth, has said he can’t take on the role permanently because it’s against the church’s rules.
Parents say he has made a significant difference to the school and they have started a petition to try and get the Catholic church to change its mind.
Julie D’Arcy said: ‘Mr Strong does a lot for single parents and those without fathers look up to him as a male figure in their lives.
‘What the bishop is not looking at is the education of the children.’
Lesley McGregor said: ‘It will be a massive loss. He supports parents as well, not just pupils. He really believes in his position and his faith but he doesn’t push it.
‘In any other job it would be discrimination.’
Sam Harden said: ‘I have signed the petition and I think it is unbelievable. The school takes children from all faiths and they need to get into the 21st century.’
Gosport Borough councillor Peter Chegwyn, who represents Leesland ward, had also
heard about the work that Mr Strong has done at the school.
Mr Chegwyn said: ‘I don’t know him personally but I know he has been a very good head. ‘I have a lot of respect for religion but I think the bishop needs to think again.’
In a letter to parents, Mr Strong said: ‘This is a difficult time personally as I have relished being the acting headteacher, deputy headteacher and most importantly teacher at St Mary’s but there are personal circumstances I would like to remain outside the public
domain that won’t allow me to apply for the post of substantive headteacher.’
A spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese has said that the decision is national policy within the Catholic church. He said to be appointed a permanent headteacher, an applicant must be able to sign the memorandum of understanding in which they would state that they are a practising Catholic of good standing.
The spokesman added: ‘The bishop and trustees would like to record their gratitude for the untiring work and quality of the professional contribution Mr Strong has made to St Mary’s primary school and to wish him well as he pursues leadership in another school.’