A SCHOOL pastoral assistant who was dismissed for sharing a Facebook petition against LGBT lessons was fairly sacked, according to an employment tribunal.
In 2018 Kristie Higgs, 44, was fired for gross misconduct by Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire, after she shared Facebook posts criticising plans to teach LGBT relationships in primary schools with approximately 100 people in her network. Using her maiden name, the mother of two also raised concerns about relationship education at her son’s Church of England school, where pupils were to learn from the ‘No Outsiders in Our School’ programme.
An anonymouscomplaint was made to the school and Mrs Higgs was sacked after a disciplinary hearing. Mrs Higgs, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, took the school to an employment tribunal arguing she had been unlawfully discriminated against because of her Christian beliefs. The Bristol tribunal concluded that her dismissal was related not to her professed beliefs but to the fact that her posts could be perceived as meaning that she held unacceptable views about gay and trans people.
Employment judge Derek Reed ruled that Mrs Higgs’s dismissal was the result of a genuine belief on the part of the school that she had committed gross misconduct, adding that ‘the entire proceedings taken against Mrs Higgs were motivated by a concern on the part of the school that, by reason of her posts, she would be perceived as holding unacceptable views in relation to gay and trans people – views which in fact she vehemently denied that she did hold’.
Mrs Higgs argued that her dismissal breached her freedom of speech and freedom of religion. However, headteacher Matthew Evans told the tribunal his priority was to uphold ‘confidence’ in the school.
Yet surely Mrs Higgs was more than justified in sharing her concerns about ‘No Outsiders’, a Relationships and Sex Education programme written by gay activist Andrew Moffat MBE, the subversive intent of which was exposed by Belinda Brown in these pages a year ago.
Though Mrs Higgs’s religious beliefs should be protected under the 2010 Equality Act, it seems that expressing any views – apart from the fulsomely complimentary – on any issues involving sexual diversity has now been ruled as against the law. No crime was committed by her, and there was nothing to complain of in her conduct, but she was still dismissed for ‘misconduct’ – ‘gross’, to boot. This must be seen as a blank cheque for any boss to get rid of anyone on the basis that ‘someone’ might be offended by ‘something’ they said. And an open door for the LGBTQ zealots who appear to have taken over sex education in our primary schools.
As Caroline ffiske reported a week ago, the Department for Education has made a welcome clarification in its new Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) Guidance. It says:
‘We are aware that topics involving gender and biological sex can be complex and sensitive matters to navigate. You should not reinforce harmful stereotypes, for instance by suggesting that children might be a different gender based on their personality and interests or the clothes they prefer to wear. Resources used in teaching about this topic must always be age-appropriate and evidence-based. Materials which suggest that non-conformity to gender stereotypes should be seen as synonymous with having a different gender identity should not be used and you should not work with external agencies or organisations that produce such material. While teachers should not suggest to a child that their non-compliance with gender stereotypes means that either their personality or their body is wrong and in need of changing, teachers should always seek to treat individual students with sympathy and support.’
On the same day the DfE published another guidance document which forbids the promotion of partisan political views in the teaching of any subject in the schools pointing out that this does not mean solely ‘party politics’ but may include global affairs, equalities issues, religion and economics, and further insisting that there be a balanced representation of opposing views. It repeats that schools must engage with parents and carers in planning the curriculum, and in line with the Human Rights Act 1998, said they must respect parents’ right for their children to be educated according to their religious and/or philosophical beliefs. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/teaching-about-relationships-sex-and-health
However, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson and the Government still have a long way to go. The first guidance document, Plan your relationships, sex and health curriculum, states: ‘All pupils should receive teaching on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) relationships during their school years. Secondary schools should include LGBT content in their teaching. Primary schools are strongly encouraged, and enabled, when teaching about different types of family, to include families with same-sex parents.’
While Ofsted downgrades primary schools for not teaching LGBT issues, despite the fact that this is optional, it is questionable whether the government’s guidance is worth any more than the paper it is written on. And if it is, why should Mrs Higgs suffer dismissal and disgrace for the sake of a defunct approach?
She is to appeal against the tribunal decision, but if she loses we will know that the Government needs more than ‘guidance’ to prevent forced conformity to extreme LGBTQ agendas in schools; and that no teacher, assistant or school helper will be safe to discuss their views on school sex education for fear of being spied upon and reported.
It is strange that an educational programme purporting to be against bullying and exclusion has become the perfect weapon for bullying and excluding all but a select group of sex education zealots. If they have their way, there will be ‘no outsiders’ in Western public life except the vast majority. Truly it can be said that the birth of ‘hate crime’ spelled the death of justice.