Press Release

Mother whose four-year-old had to take part in gay pride parade to have legal case heard

11 July 2021         Issued by: Christian Concern

A Christian mother whose four-year-old son was required to take part in a school’s gay pride parade against her will is to have her legal case heard in court this week.

In June 2018, Mrs Izzy Montague made national headlines after being aggressively told by the headteacher of Heaver’s Farm Primary School in Croydon, south London, that her son could not opt-out of the pride event despite the families’ Christian beliefs.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Mrs Montague launched legal action against the school on the grounds of direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation and breaches of statutory duties under the Education Act 1996 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

The ground-breaking case is the first time that a UK court will scrutinise the legality of imposing LGBT ideology on primary schools. The court will look at the impact it has on religious discrimination, the human rights of parents and their children, the right to opt out of sex education, and a schools’ duty of political neutrality.

This case will be heard at Central London County Court from Wednesday 14 -21 July.

Stonewall influence

The influence and approach of Stonewall was apparent in the school’s partisan pride month activities in June 2018 which saw free speech silenced, religious beliefs ignored, and parental rights infringed.

Stonewall posters were emblazoned across the school, children were shown Stonewall videos during lessons, and children as young as four were read stories promoted by the organisation aimed at normalising same-sex relationships.

The deputy head teacher was a trained Stonewall ‘champion’ who was given a brief by the school to focus on the theme of ‘no hierarchy of equalities’ during pride month.

In recent weeks, institutions such as the Ministry of Justice, Ofsted and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission have left Stonewall’s diversity programme in droves citing ‘disquiet’ over their tactics and ‘dubious’ training.

Mrs Montague will describe in court how the school created a ‘hostile’ and ‘intimidating’ atmosphere towards any parents who had a dissenting view against the LGBT ideology that was forced on their primary school children.

For example, at a formal meeting between Mrs Montague and the school hierarchy to discuss the concerns, the head teacher’s daughter wore a t-shirt which read: “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic, when you can just be quiet?”

Images also emerged of a four-year-old child on the school’s website featuring a year 1 pupil with a placard that she had written after a lesson about Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech: “I have a dreem if bois cood go to the saim toilet as gerls.”

A number of parents claimed that the school was forcing a very aggressive LGBT agenda onto children under 12 years of age in a manner which abused parental rights and victimised them.

Many of the complaining parents were, however, fearful of speaking to the press over concerns that their children would be further victimised and/or expelled.

Believing she was being bullied and refusing to be silenced, Mrs Montague faced no alternative but to withdraw her son from the school and launched legal action.

RSE concerns

The case epitomises far-reaching concerns ahead of the full implementation of the government’s Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) this autumn.

Concerns include the fact that RSE guidance does not protect the rights of parents to opt their children out of lessons with sexualised themes which are not in line with their religious beliefs.

Currently RSE also does not define what is ‘age appropriate’ for primary school children, which leaves schools wide-open to the influence of ‘partisan’ agencies and teachers using political ideas uncritically as facts in the classroom.

The issue is heightened by the chaos of the pandemic which has resulted in many parents across the UK not being legally informed of the contents of RSE ahead of its full implementation.

The case also follows an Ofsted report released last week, which found concerns over the way issues of sex, sexual orientation and gender reassignment are taught in schools which it concludes could lead to potential conflict with parents.

Mrs Montague’s case echoes the tensions between the Muslim community and Parkfield Community school in Birmingham over the school’s ‘No Outsiders’ LGBT teaching programme.

Jewish schools have also said they will not teach LGBT lessons or promote LGBT ideology in the classroom.

‘Education not indoctrination’

Ahead of the hearing Mrs Montague said: “I wasn’t even trying to stop the Pride event. I just wanted my child to receive an education, rather than indoctrination.

“After I complained about my young child being forced to take part in an event that goes against our Christian beliefs, the school’s attitude towards me changed completely. Other parents were afraid to speak up because of how the school treated me.

“It was like being bullied. They stopped treating me like any other parent but were antagonistic towards me. I believe that they retaliated against me by unreasonably excluding me from the premises, victimising my child and not taking my safeguarding concerns seriously.

“I am taking this stand to raise awareness amongst parents as to what is happening in our primary schools. I do not want other parents to go through what I have in the months and years ahead.”

‘Totalitolerance’

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “This case epitomises the chaos we can expect to see in the next academic year in our schools and is another example of the ‘totalitolerance’ that has become so prevalent in our society. Those who preach tolerance and diversity the loudest do not appear to be interested in practising it.

“The treatment of parents at Heavers Farm Primary School represents one of the most chilling breaches of parental rights I have ever seen in my many years of working on educational issues.

“Education is always a partnership between the school and parents, but the school’s actions showed disrespect, dismissiveness and hostility towards these parents. A particular agenda is being forced onto children inside the school gates and parents are being given no means to ensure that their children are being taught in line with their religious and philosophical beliefs.”

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