Trent College is a protestant and evangelical Church of England boarding school outside of Nottingham, England with over 1,000 students.
In 2019, the school reported its Chaplin, Rev Dr Bernard Randall, to Prevent, an anti-terror watchdog set up by the British government, after he delivered a chapel sermon stating that though the students needed to respect members of the LGBT+ community, they could still hold to traditional views on marriage and sexuality.
He added that students have the right to make up their own minds on these issues. Randall stated in his sermon, “You should no more be told you have to accept LGBT ideology, than you should be told you must be in favour of Brexit, or must be Muslim.” You can read the full text of Randall’s sermon by clicking here.
According to the Daily Mail, students asked Randall to address the issue after the school adopted a program to “develop a whole school LGBT+ inclusive curriculum.”
Prevent’s resulting investigation revealed there were no grounds for charges and dropped the case.
Randall only became aware that he had been reported to Prevent during a disciplinary hearing where Randall was told he needed to submit all future sermons in advance and was told his chapel services would be monitored to ensure compliance.
Though the school’s headmaster tried to fire Randall in 2019, the decision was overturned by the college’s governors. In December 2020, the school declared Randall redundant because of COVID and laid him off.
Randall is now taking the school to court alleging discrimination and harassment. He is also alleging that the school’s accusations have had a devastating impact on his career. His case will be heard in June.
Several organizations have stepped up to support Randall in his battle with the college, stating it was a blatant attack on Free Speech.
The Blaze writes:
Toby Young of the Free Speech Union told the outlet that Randall’s sermon was “fantastic” and that it insists “no one has a monopoly on moral truth. For Bernard Randall to lose his job as a result of this sermon is scandalous. What’s so depressing about his treatment is the message it sends to the pupils. The central theme of his sermon is that children shouldn’t be afraid to think for themselves. But the message the school has sent is the opposite. Schools should be teaching children how to think, not what to think.”
READ: UK boarding school turns over its chaplain to anti-terrorism authorities — after he preached against school’s LGBTQ policies AND Fee-paying boarding school reports its chaplain to anti-terror unit Prevent for telling pupils in a sermon that they’re allowed to disagree with LGBT teaching AND School chaplain suspended and reported for sermon on identity politics launches legal challenge