A teacher who posted a video criticising Ruth Davidson's "fatherless" pregnancy escaped sanction after it was decided there was no clear evidence that the content would lead others to conclude he is intolerant or prejudiced.   

Richard Lucas last month appeared before a panel at the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) over allegations he had published offensive and discriminatory views via Youtube in 2018 while working at Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh.

Ms Davidson, Holyrood leader for the Scottish Conservatives, gave birth to a son in October of that year. She and her partner had previously announced they were expecting a child after undergoing IVF.

Following a hearing, panel members decided the claims against Mr Lucas - who was teaching maths at the time the video was posted - were not proved.

READ MORE: Teacher cleared of discrimination claims by GTCS

The regulator has now published official documents to explain the outcome, which sparked widespread interest and controversy. 

Robin Macpherson, Head of Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, was among those attacking the GTCS for not removing Mr Lucas from the professional register.

"If the point of the GTCS⁩ is to maintain the integrity and standards of the teaching profession in Scotland, then this is an abject failure," he tweeted. "Homophobia has no place in the classroom."

In his video, Mr Lucas, who is leader of the Scottish Family Party, refers to Ms Davidson’s pregnancy and makes remarks such as “the important issue here of course is that this is the deliberate production of a fatherless child” and “children have got a right to a mum and dad, a male role model and a female role model within the home”.

The video also refers to the New Family Structures study by sociologist Mark Regenerus and offers a series of statements about its participants.

These include that 24 per cent from families where the father had a gay relationship had thought about suicide, compared with 12% of participants from a family where the mother had a lesbian relationship, and 5% where the mother and father were married as an “intact family”.

HeraldScotland: Mr Lucas was teaching at Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, when the video was posted.Mr Lucas was teaching at Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, when the video was posted.

In the video, he states the following: “The statistics always show worse outcomes for children from lesbian and gay parented households, but then the statistical jiggery pokery kicks in and, by controlling for one thing or another, eventually you can make those effects disappear and claim that the children turn out just as well, but there’s good reason to think that there are problems associated with/correlated with same sex parenthood.”

In addition, the GTCS allegations stated that Mr Lucas published a newspaper letter whose contents were claimed to echo remarks made in the video.

The watchdog’s original hearing document said the statements in the 2018 video and letter, along with the use of “inflammatory” language, tone and manner, were “offensive; and/or communicate intolerance and/or prejudice; and/or, are discriminatory; and/or, are potentially discriminatory as a reasonable and properly informed member of the public, having regard to the content of your statements, would conclude that you were intolerant of and prejudiced against same sex parents and would discriminate against them and their children in the course of your duties as a teacher”.

READ MORE: Teacher faces being struck off over video

But an official record published by the GTCS shows the allegations were rejected after a panel concluded Mr Lucas "presented his opinions [in the video]... in a measured and controlled way without using pejorative language and with reference to a study that was published".

They add: "Having considered the statements made by the Teacher in the context of the video as a whole and with specific regard to those factors, the Panel could not be satisfied to the required standard that the statements made by the Teacher had the meaning and effect set out in the allegations.

"For the same reasons, the Panel could not be satisfied that a reasonably and properly informed member of the public, who was aware of all of the circumstances, including the fact the video was produced on behalf of the Scottish Family Party, would conclude that the Teacher was intolerant of, and prejudiced against, same sex parents and would discriminate against them and their children in the course of his duties as a teacher.

"The Panel considered that it was relevant that any individual watching the video would be aware that it was broadcast by the Teacher on behalf of the Scottish Family Party in the context of members of political parties having the right to express their views." 

The panel reached a similar conclusion about the newspaper letter.

It came after one witness said that, for many years, Merchiston Castle School did not consider Mr Lucas' views as putting pupils at risk.

HeraldScotland: Mr Lucas' video made controversial comments about same-sex parenting.Mr Lucas' video made controversial comments about same-sex parenting.

However, over time, the teacher "challenged one and all", including regulatory bodies.

The witness told the hearing that he and senior colleagues were "appalled" at the contents of the video, since they did not reflect the school's inclusive ethos. It also sparked complaints from two sets of parents on numerous occasions.

"Despite these complaints, however, the school found the issue a difficult one to resolve because of the tension between the values of the school on the one hand and the Teacher’s right to express his own views outside of school," the GTCS record states.

"Such was the complexity of the situation that the school had to take legal advice on the matter on more than one occasion.

"Ultimately the Governors and the School Leadership Team felt that the Teacher had to conclude his career at the school and a settlement agreement was reached with the Governors and the Bursar.

"The Teacher was given the option to resign or not and chose to do so on 31 August 2018."

However, Mr Lucas said he was not forced out because of the video, adding that departure was agreed before it was made.

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The GTCS panel heard that the witness disapproved of the video's contents "because ‘everyone is different and distinct’ and it was ‘inappropriate to comment upon the right of an individual to have a baby’".

It was also the witness’ view that it was inappropriate for a member of the teaching profession to express such views because the school taught pupils who were being raised by a single parent.

This was echoed by a second witness, who said he was concerned Mr Lucas' Youtube video might cause upset to a pupil or parent, especially if the pupil was being taught by him.

The GTCS record states that Mr Lucas "made clear at the outset that he had no intention of apologising for his conduct because, in his view, people who have opinions should not be deterred from expressing them, especially when those opinions might have a positive impact on society".

READ MORE: Parents fuel rise in claims of misconduct against teachers

The document adds: "It was the Teacher’s evidence that the views he expressed in his YouTube video mirrored the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, which he believed legitimised his comments and highlighted that the Scottish educational establishment was out of touch with many religions."

When asked if he had considered whether his video might be watched by children and young people, Mr Lucas, who represented himself in the proceedings, was said to have accepted it was not private and could be accessed by those with an interest in politics.

"However, in his view, there is no harm at all to young people coming across expressions and opinions consistent with the ‘mainstream teachings of Christian churches’," the GTCS document states.

"It was also the Teacher’s evidence that young people are taught in a ‘socially liberal way’ in schools and witnessing ‘socially conservative views’ might help to ‘balance things up’. He reiterated his opinion that the views he expressed in the video are shared by many people in society."

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During further questioning, the teacher said he became aware as the years went by that the Scottish educational establishment was "hostile" to his views and that he fully expected to be struck off.

But he insisted he would not be silenced outside of the school context.

Mr Lucas told the hearing that use of the phrase "intact family" was an appropriate way to refer to a family with a biological mother and father and "merely suggesting that type of family structure is preferable does not mean it is of higher value".

According to the GTCS record, he said that, just because he has a preference for a particular family form, "this does not mean that he is intolerant of same sex parents and their children because intolerance implies something ‘much more sinister’". Mr Lucas also insisted this did not mean that he would treat same sex parents or their children "less favourably".