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Move to ban anti LGBT-inclusive education protestors is ‘long-overdue’, says Humanists UK

Humanists UK has welcomed a High Court injunction issued late on Friday banning protesters from demonstrating against LGBT-inclusive education outside Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham.

The court injunction prevents protesters from gathering in or around the school in the Moseley area after the local council said that their ‘increasingly unacceptable behaviour’ posed a risk to staff, pupils, and parents and that it was ‘too serious to tolerate’.

Humanists UK, which has long campaigned for fully inclusive Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) for all pupils regardless of background, said the move to stop the protests was ‘long-overdue’ and would go some way in protecting those affected after weeks of escalating protests from mostly Muslim parents and supporters.

The interim injunction is due to be in place until at least 10 June. It sets up an exclusion area – similar to buffer zones that operate around abortion clinics – in the streets around the school, but also prevents anti-LGBT campaigners from producing or distributing materials ‘against the teaching of equalities’ at the school, encouraging others to protest, or using social media to target or abuse school staff. Failure to comply could result in arrest. However, some of those involved in the demonstrations have said that they will seek to overturn the judgement.

Last week, Nazir Afzal, a high-profile lawyer brought in to mediate in the dispute at Anderton Park said that parents at the school were being ‘manipulated’ by anti-LGBT campaigners who have no relation to the school, and who he had seen ‘walking around with materials and documents which were pulled off the internet, and which they wrongly and maliciously say the school is teaching’.

Humanists UK Education Campaigns Manager Dr Ruth Wareham commented: ‘Like all children, the pupils at Anderton Park have the right to receive their education in a safe, welcoming environment without disruption. Similarly, these pupils also have the right to learn that there are a range of different families and that individuals must be treated with respect regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, or other protected characteristics.

‘We are pleased that the High Court has seen fit to put a stop to these protests, which have been orchestrated and inflamed by a handful of anti-LGBT bigots, many of whom don’t even have children attending the school. We very much hope that this legal action means that the staff and children at Anderton Park are able to get back to the important task of teaching and learning unimpeded by unnecessary disruption and threats to their personal safety.’

NOTES:

For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Press Manager Casey-Ann Seaniger at casey@humanism.org.uk or phone 020 7324 3078.

Read our most recent article on the protests at Anderton Park Primary here.

Read our comments on the Birmingham school protests here.

For more information on our work on relationships and sex education, click here.

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.

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