Christian school won’t be prosecuted for forcing LGBT students out of the closet
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) will not prosecute the Gomarus School Community in Gorinchem for discrimination against LGBTQIA+ students and forcing at least one student to come out to their parents. While the OM believes the Christian school is punishable, the school has changed its policies, and no further victims came forward. So the OM will not proceed with further criminal proceedings.
The police received two reports of discrimination and coercion against LGBTQIA+ students by school employees in April and September 2021, following an article in NRC in which former students told what it was like to be non-hetero at Gomarus in 2016 and 2017.
The authorities launched an investigation and found that in 2016 school staff forced a student to share their homosexual feelings with their parents. The school also had specific rules on how to deal with LGBTQIA+ students and -teachers at the school.
According to the OM, the school crossed the permissible limits and created an unsafe space for LGBTQIA+ students. The school is guilty of two criminal offenses - coercion and distributing or disclosing information that incites discrimination.
Gomarus told the OM that it has a new policy, and an investigation confirmed this. "The school community has adjusted its policy and no longer makes any distinction in the treatment of students based on their sexual orientation." the OM said.
"One of the aims of the OM in criminal proceedings is to stop the offense. The investigation team is not aware of any new incident after 2016, and the school's policy has been adjusted. For these reasons, the OM decided to drop the case."
The OM informed those involved about its decision. If they disagree, they can submit an Article 12 complaint to the Court of Appeal to try and force prosecution.