A Birmingham school facing protests around the teaching of LGBT issues has reportedly seen 600 pupils withdrawn from the school today in an alarming escalation which is placing children’s safety and education at risk, Humanists UK says.
Education publication TES today reported that 600 pupils have been taken out of Anderton Park Primary in Birmingham by their parents due to increasing pressure from Muslim demonstrators outside the school who claim teaching about LGBT rights is against their religion. The school has 749 pupils on its roll.
This latest move follows heightened scenes where protesters appeared in a new video criticising LGBT people and women, adding ‘This is so against the word of God… God created women for men’s pleasure.’
It has led to officials and MPs including Birmingham Council leader Ian Ward and MP Jess Phillips to call for Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) to put in place safety exclusion zones at effected schools, similar to buffer zones used near abortion clinics.
Following the latest developments, Humanists UK, which campaigns for inclusive relationships and sex education (RSE), including promoting respect for LGBT people, called on leadership from the highest government level to intervene in the situation, and said it supported the introduction of such exclusion zones.
Protests around LGBT lessons being taught in schools began at another Birmingham school, Parkfield Community School, which teaches about equality and LGBT relationships in its No Outsiders programme. While Anderton Park does not teach that programme, the protesters are voicing their opposition to compulsory relationships and sex education (RSE) which comes into effect next year. The protests have been mainly organised by Shakeel Afsar, who does not have children at the school.
Humanists UK’s Education Campaigns Manager Dr Ruth Wareham said: ‘The recent appalling comments by protesters – including that “God created women for men’s pleasure” – show why all children need education on relationships and sex so that they have the information and advice available to help them lead healthy, happy, and safe lives.
‘It is crucial that the Government acts now to protect students at all of these schools by ensuring that they continue to receive their education, and that they feel safe to attend school. We also support officials’ moves to introduce safety exclusion zones so that children are not subjected to vile and harmful comments from protesters which send the message that LGBT people and women are not equal.’
For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Press Manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 7324 3078.
Read our comments on the Birmingham school protests here: https://humanism.org.uk/2019/03/19/alarming-birmingham-trust-with-five-schools-also-suspends-lgbt-lessons/
For more information on our work on relationships and sex education, visit https://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/schools-and-education/school-curriculum/pshe-and-sex-and-relationships-education/
Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.