A school has apologised to a black Christian teaching assistant it had issued her with a written warning after she told an autistic pupil she disapproved of same-sex relationships.
Victoria Allen, 51, also said she did not like the way the biblical rainbow symbol had been adopted as an emblem of gay pride.
After receiving the warning, she threatened to take Brannel School in St Austell, Cornwall, to tribunal over the matter.
But on Monday the dispute was settled out of court.
The 14-year-old boy had interrupted an English lesson to ask her opinion on same-sex marriage.
When she gave her ‘personal opinion’ on the issue, the boy said he did not feel offended, but agreed when a teacher suggested he felt uneasy about the incident.
She was then given the written warning for not following the school’s equal opportunities policies.
After a complaint by the boy’s mother, the school launched formal disciplinary action in September.
Both parties yesterday spent the day behind closed doors at Bodmin Magistrates’ Court thrashing out an agreement.
A joint statement said head teacher Andy Edmonds ‘recognised Victoria Allen’s right to share her Christian beliefs with students and has apologised for any upset she may have felt during the disciplinary process’.
Outside court, Ms Allen said she was made to ‘feel like a criminal’ for sharing her ‘personal, Biblical beliefs’.
She added: ‘If a child asks my personal opinion, I feel I should give it.’
However Ms Allen, a widow with three children, admitted staff should share ‘balanced views’.
Libby Powell of the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Mrs Allens’ claim, said: ‘Vicky was asked a question about her personal opinion.
‘We know that there are lots of people who disagree with the Biblical view of marriage and they are free to disagree.
‘What we want to say is that there has to be space for the other point of view Vicky’s point of view to be there as well.’
Ms Allen attends a Pentecostal church and joined the school in 2011.
In her job as a high-level teaching assistant she helps children with a range of educational difficulties.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Thomas Burrows