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Teacher claims he was removed for posts about trans issues, Islam

An Irish teacher has launched a High Court challenge to prevent disciplinary action over social media posts he made in 2015 and 2016.

The action has been taken against the Teaching Council by Gearóid “Gerry” Johnson, who has been a teacher for more than 26 years.

In 2020, the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (ETB) dismissed Johnson from Ballyfermot College of Further Education, after allegations that he engaged in bullying. Johnson denies these claims, and says that the decision to remove him is related to complaints regarding his social media posts.

According to the Independent, the court heard how the posts expressed his own views on “the need for a mother and a father” in a family; his view that there is “a binary distinction between male and female”; “issues around transgenderism”; and the treatment of women in Islam.

The posts in question were deleted shortly after Johnson posted them around 7 years ago, and he deleted his social media profile altogether in 2016, he says, as an act of good will.

Johnson, who politically identifies as Libertarian and reportedly says he lived as a gay man for over 30 years, says he gave the council context for the posts and why he issued them.

He claims that during the time he made the posts, he was wrongly defamed in his previous workplace as a racist, homophobe, Islamophobe and misogynist, all of which he claims are false allegations.

The ETB, however, made further complaints to the Teaching Council regarding the posts, claiming that Johnson does not appear to be committed to inclusion, equality, or diversity regarding gender, religion, or sexual orientation.

Johnson, however, insists he has done nothing wrong. He says he has explained the posts and not been charged with a criminal offence. Moreover, he believes that the council is breaching his Constitutional rights to free speech and a private life.

Johnson now teaches at Moyle Park College in Clondalkin, and the matter will go before the court once again in October.

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