Written by Student Rights on 19 January 2012 at 6pm

Homophobic website shown to pupils at Jewish Free School

Student Rights has learned today that material which suggested that homosexuality can be cured was shown to pupils at the Jewish Free School (JFS) in London. At the end of a lesson which was part of the school’s Jewish Studies curriculum, the website of the organisation ‘Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality’, or JONAH was displayed on a PowerPoint slide. 

This website claims that homosexuality can be “mitigated and potentially eliminated”, that it “is a learned behavior which can be unlearned", and "that healing is a lifelong process”. Here at Student Rights, we are appalled that these homophobic views, which have no place in today’s society, are being pedalled to sixth form students in a British school.   

Since the lesson a number of pupils have responded with outrage to this incident, one student saying that “if I were gay or worrying about my sexuality, sitting through that lesson, I would have been so upset”. Another stated that, despite the controversy surrounding the idea of homosexuals being told they can be converted, this was presented as simply another view on the subject. They went onto say that “I was appalled; it felt like it was saying, ‘if you have any doubts, check this out’.”

In response to this, the JFS has stated that “the website is referred to at the end of the lesson, as another opinion, ‘some Jews think this’, to leave students with food for thought”. The Head Teacher Jonathan Miller went onto say that “It is absolutely not the case that we promote JONAH. The teaching materials explicitly state that Judaism would utterly condemn homophobia and discrimination”.