Vicar resigns after being silenced over trans ideology concerns at church primary school26 May 2019 Issued by: Christian Legal Centre
A vicar has resigned as a governor at a Church of England (CofE) primary school after school leadership took the step of granting permission for a child under the age of twelve to announce to his class his transition from a boy to a girl, without any agreed procedures or policies and without informing parents until it was too late.
Trans lobby group Mermaids were also invited in to provide training to staff and governors and the disturbing audio from the session has been revealed.
The story highlights a national escalation of cases, noticeably since the introduction of the Equality Act 2010, where statistics released by the NHS have revealed that the number of children referred for hormone treatment to the Tavistock Centre has gone up from 97 cases in 2009 to 2,519 in 2018 – a 2,500% increase in just nine years.
Rev. John Parker, 49, has also resigned as a vicar in the CofE after becoming deeply troubled by the CofE’s promotion and enforcement of politically correct ideology, especially within his diocese in recent years. The local CofE’s diocesan education body’s approval of trans ideology within the school of which Mr Parker was a governor was the final straw, and after his concerns were silenced, he faced no option but to resign. In his resignation letter to the Bishop he wrote that he feared that children were being ‘sacrificed on the altar of trans ideology’.
The head teacher had informed governors in March 2019 that a parent of the child concerned was insistent that no prior information about the situation should be provided to other parents at the school until the day the child announced the transition.
As a result, the child made the announcement at school to the class before any policies were written, procedures implemented or parents and year groups told. The governors were informed by the head teacher that this was de-facto policy and the change would be done that way.
This included there being no guidance to cover matters such as whether the child in question would be allowed to use the girls’ toilets or share changing rooms and accommodation with female pupils during trips away.
Mr Parker, an Oxford biology graduate, said: “The Governors were simply told by the head teacher that a child born male now wished to be regarded as female, that parents were not to be informed by the school ahead of the transition, and that a controversial organisation [Mermaids] was being brought in to provide awareness and training to staff.”
Concerns ignored about pupil welfare
Several governors repeatedly raised concerns about the implications that the school’s decisions would have for the education, and the physical and mental welfare of the other pupils at the school. However, they were consistently ignored and rejected, prompting members of the governing body to seek legal advice from the Christian Legal Centre.
Despite legal advice being passed by the governors to the head teacher, calls to inform parents and to exercise caution were ignored. The head stated that the Department for Education and local CofE diocesan education authority had advised that the school was obliged under equality laws to implement the policy. In addition, the head teacher had arranged for the trans lobby group, Mermaids, to provide staff training on the recommendation of the Department for Education as an approved state provider.
Before the child in question, whose identity was at all times concealed from the governors, made the formal announcement to class mates, the children were introduced to two books: Big Bob, Little Bob, which tells the story of a smaller boy dressing as a girl, and Red: A Crayon’s Story, telling the story of a red crayon wanting to be a blue crayon.
‘You are all now honourary Mermaids’
During the Mermaids staff training session that followed at the school, it was made clear that the acceptance of the transgender movement should be set as a goal throughout the school. In audio footage, the Mermaids’ representative told staff and governors that: “Someone’s transition begins and ends when they tell you. What I mean by that is if I was a member of staff here, and I came in to work and said: ‘I recognise I’m a trans man, I’d like to use the name Paul and the pro-nouns ‘he’ and ‘him’ – that is all you ever need to know.”
The trainer said that disclosures regarding a child’s transition should be made only on a very strict ‘need to know basis’. She advised that: “normally, we would recommend head teacher, sport, pastoral and class teacher for that year, that’s all. They are the only people who need to be involved in meetings and plans, everyone else just gets told: ‘The pupil you knew who had this name and this pronoun will now be known by this name and this pronoun’.” She said that Governors just get told: “‘we have a pupil who is transitioning,’ and that is it.”
The trainer made it clear that Mermaids demand visibility of LGBTQI+ ideology in schools. She said: “I look around and I ask myself: ‘Would I out myself?’ And if I don’t see a rainbow the answer is no.” Furthermore, she insisted it would be illegal to deny anyone the use of the toilets or changing rooms for the gender they identify as, and warned using the wrong pronoun for a transgender child would be a ‘hate crime‘.
The trainer was clear that LGBTQI+ identity must take priority in schools. She said: “You cannot use personal, religious or cultural beliefs to discriminate. You can have them of course you can, we live in a free country, but you cannot use that to discriminate against another minority.” Finishing the training, she told staff at the CofE primary school that: “You are all now honourary mermaids, whether you want to be or not.”
At the end of the training, Mr Parker politely attempted to express his Christian and scientific view on the issues involved, but he was bluntly silenced by the head teacher. ‘I don’t have to listen to this‘, the Mermaids trainer said.
Forced on children without knowledge
Mr Parker commented: “Throughout the training session there was an implicit threat to us that if we did not implement, enforce and fully affirm Mermaids ideology and affirm LGBTQI+ children, it would result in children committing suicide, self-harming, and police and Ofsted would enforce the policy.
“After the head told us about the plan to allow the pupil to transition, the school suddenly turned into a place where you did not even have the freedom to question or express a view. I felt it was no longer a Christian place of truth but a place of fear and intimidation. This was compounded at the Mermaids training session.
“Given the Christian ethos of the school, and the fact that a certain percentage of parents have sent their children to a CofE School because they sought for their children a Christian education in line with their own beliefs, the issue needed to be handled with those sensitivities in mind, and it has not been.
“There was no protocol set within the school for how this matter would be announced or handled. Many parents may well hold the view that sex and gender is fixed at birth and may wish to educate their children in line with those beliefs. Instead trans ideology was forced on their children as fact and without their knowledge.”
‘Church of England has to intervene’
Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “This is not an isolated case and we are going to see more and more like it if nothing is done. Parents have a right to know if and when this ideological movement is in their schools and being taught as fact.
“I believe that a real threat is posed to schools from organisations such as Mermaids. They implement a new ideological tyranny – and any disagreement is at best silenced and at worst, punished. The number of children confused about their sex and gender and seeking treatment is escalating and it is our children that are suffering and are bewildered. In imposing this ideology, we are not being kind to our children but cruel. It is time for this to stop.
“The Church of England has one million children in its care. This is a serious God-given duty which the church is failing at. It has invited the new state ideology into the classroom and it has lost confidence in its own message of what it means to be human. The Church needs to act before it is too late.”
Notes for editors
The Christian Legal Centre is not naming the school in order to protect the privacy of the pupils.
NHS referral numbers to the Tavistock Centre since 2009