A personal message from Andrea Williams about a key case starting on Monday 21 September
I imagine you remember Kristie Higgs, the Christian school worker who was sacked for gross misconduct simply for sharing her concerns about relationships and sex education, on social media.
Her experience is one of the most disturbing that we’ve dealt with at the Christian Legal Centre.
But now, finally, Kristie has a chance to challenge what has happened to her.
Next week, an employment tribunal will hear Kristie’s challenge to the school that had employed her for six years but then callously cast her aside simply for posting her concerns about new teaching material being used in primary schools.
This is a very important moment. Not only for Kristie. But for all of us who care about the freedom to express the truth about marriage and family, and who care about what children are taught in primary schools.
We believe that God’s pattern is beautiful and good. So does Kristie. That’s why she took the action that she did. And it’s an honour to stand with her.
Today I’m writing to ask you to stand with Kristie next week by praying, and if you can, by making a gift.
We don’t charge Kristie (or anyone else) a penny for the legal expertise we offer. We rely entirely on gifts from people like you to help Kristie and others like her.
Your donation of £25, £50 or £100, will help us to be there for Kristie – and for the next person who is treated unjustly because of their love for God and their courage to speak for what is right.
Lessons challenge Christian beliefs on family
For six years, Kristie worked as a pastoral assistant at the secondary school in the small rural town where she lives with her husband and two children. She knows the school well. She went there as a child. So did her husband. Kristie loved her role, got on well with others, and enjoyed caring for the students.
Kristie’s other child is at the local Church of England primary school. She received a letter from the primary school saying that it was adopting the ‘No Outsiders’ programme.
You may have heard of this programme. It’s being rolled out at various primary schools across the country, teaching children to recognise and celebrate ‘difference and diversity’ and understand ‘British values’.
But it challenges the Christian understanding of family.
One book recommended for children as young as four years old, is called ‘Mommy, Mama, and Me’. Its publisher says that it is “one of the only original board books about gay parents.”
The publisher of another recommended book, ‘The Family Book’, says it “will encourage children to ask questions about their own families.”
Betrayed by a ‘friend’
Kristie went to a meeting at the primary school to find out more about ‘No Outsiders’. She was really concerned by what she saw and by the fact that not many other parents attended. So, in the days that followed, she researched the issues.
As she did, she shared a couple of things on her Facebook page. One highlighted how children’s storybooks were being used to promote transgender ideology in America.
The other encouraged people to sign a petition challenging the government’s plans to introduce compulsory Relationships and Sex Education in schools. These were ‘private’ posts – they weren’t visible to the world but only to Kristie’s group of friends on Facebook.
Kristie wanted to highlight to her friends what is happening in schools – much as you might in a discussion over a meal with friends at home, or in a private conversation at the school gate.
The next week, back at the secondary school where she worked, Kristie was called to a meeting. She was told that someone had complained about her Facebook posts – even though those posts could only be seen by her Facebook friends.
It seems that one of Kristie’s Facebook ‘friends’ sent pictures of her posts to the headteacher of the school where she worked, complaining that “a member of your staff who works directly with children has been posting homophobic and prejudiced views against the lgbt [sic] community on Facebook.”
Sacked for gross misconduct
From there, things escalated.
The day after that meeting, Kristie was suspended.
Then, in January, Kristie was sacked for gross misconduct. She appealed but the decision was upheld.
I’m so glad that Kristie had somewhere to turn. We’ve been helping her since the moment she contacted us.
Our expert legal team at the Christian Legal Centre has been working very hard on her case. Even now, final preparations are being made.
But we can only provide this vital support because of the generosity of people like you.
We don’t charge people for the help that we give, because we don’t want money to stand in the way of Christians getting the help that they need.
That’s why I’m so grateful for the partnership of everyone who is able to give financially. I don’t take it for granted.
Next week, Kristie has her first chance to set this right. And she needs our support.
Please could you make a gift of £25, £50, £100, or whatever you can afford, to stand with Kristie and others like her?
Pray for Kristie and for our legal team in court from Monday. And please pray that God would provide all that we need to keep helping Kristie and others like her.
Yours in Christ,
P.S. I understand that you may not be in a position to make a financial gift to help Kristie. Please could you help by praying and by sharing this message with others?
Find out more about Kristie Higgs