Educate Together has criticised comments by the president of a school managers' body who said dismantling the Catholic ethos of schools would leave children in danger of "nihilism and self-harm".
On Thursday, Fr Paul Connell, president of the Joint Managerial Body, which represents the boards of management of two-thirds of secondary schools, said Catholic schools played a vital role in helping young people grow in faith.
“ The alternative is a vacuum that can express itself in nihilism and the growing phenomenon in our schools of self-harm,” he said.
Educate Together, an equality-based patron body for 80 schools, said the comments were “deeply offensive” and not supported by any “credible research”.
“Educate Together sincerely hopes Fr Connell will reflect on how his spurious assertions regarding self-harm and nihilism are unhelpful to young people of all ‘traditions’ and in all types of school,” the patron body said in a statement.
“To suggest that students attending an equality-based secondary school would be more prone to such negativity is totally unfounded and unacceptable.”