A Christian mother whose four-year-old son was required to take part in a school’s LGBT pride parade against her will is to have her legal case heard in court this week.
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, Izzy launched legal action against the school on the grounds of direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation and breach of statutory duty under the Education Act 1996 and the Human Rights Act 1998.
The 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. The case is set to be heard at Central London County Court for eight days, from Wednesday 1 February 2023.
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. LGBT pride flags were spread across the school and children were encouraged to wear rainbow colours and children as young as four were shown videos of two men kissing.
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 so-called Pride month (June). No advance warning was given to parents, and Izzy only learnt of the parade from a newspaper article.
After requesting that her son be withdrawn from the parade, Izzy was told that if her son did not attend it would be seen as a behavioural issue.
In her complaint, Izzy said the school had breached the Equality Act 2010. In particular, she asserted that the ‘Pride parade’ was unlawful “discrimination against children who follow their Christian or any other mainstream religion.”
Izzy will submit, following her complaints, that the school created a ‘hostile’ and ‘intimidating’ atmosphere towards any parents who dissented against the LGBT ideology that was forced on their children. For example, at a formal meeting between Izzy 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?”
“Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic, when you can just be quiet?”
Images also emerged on the school’s website of a year 1 pupil with a placard that she had written after a lesson about Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. It said: “I have a dreem if bois cood go to the saim toilet as gerls.” [Sic]
A number of parents claimed that the school was forcing a very aggressive LGBT agenda onto their children, all of whom were under 12 years, in a manner which abused their parental rights. 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, Izzy faced no alternative but to withdraw her son from the school and launched legal action.
The case epitomises far-reaching concerns following the full implementation of the government’s Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). 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.
Only last week, it was revealed that schools are blocking parents from viewing harmful materials taught through RSE and that the curriculum is not transparent despite government promises.
Izzy’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, Izzy commented: “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.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Izzy, said: “This case epitomises the chaos we can expect to see in the coming years 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 some 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.”
Find out more about Izzy Montague