A Church of England primary school on the Isle of Wight could be facing legal action from parents who say they are upset because two boys in their son’s school were allowed to come to class in dresses.
In response, the organisation that runs the school, the Diocese of Portsmouth, says it complies with the Equalities Act 2010 and that it would be unlawful not to accept the wishes of pupils and parents.
The organisation supporting the Rowes’ case, Christian Concern, says the diocese is not correctly interpreting the act and has released a video:
Nigel and Sally Rowe have told The Times that they will home-school their children instead. They plan to call for a judicial review at the high court and to bring an education tribunal case.
The school (which is not being named) falls under the control of the Diocese of Portsmouth. Jeff Williams, its Director of Education, said:
“Church of England schools are inclusive environments where pupils learn to respect diversity of all kinds. Like any other state school, our schools comply with the legal requirements of the Equalities Act 2010. Among other things, this requires schools to accept the wishes of children and their families with regard to gender identity. It would be unlawful for any of our schools to do otherwise.”
Hear Lucy Morgan speaking to Roger Kiska, Legal Council, Christian Legal Centre:
He told Isle of Wight Radio:
“This is really about the school engaging in education dealing with gender identity, which is not what the family sent their children to school for. Christian parents sent them there to learn a biblical education. Without consultation with any [other] family they have embarked on what we determine, legally speaking, to be indoctrination in gender politics.
“The parents have done their best to make amends with the school. This is why it’s gotten to this level…It’s not about tolerance. It’s about the school’s duty of care to all its children.
“There is always a balancing act required. This is a lamentable situation.”
Meanwhile, Isle of Wight Pride has issued a statement:
“Isle Of Wight Pride were shocked and saddened to hear the reports over the weekend.
“Pride recognises that this is not an issue about sexuality whatsoever but is about gender identity and regardless of anyone’s views or beliefs, there are children involved and affected by this issue who must be a priority.
“We are glad that the school in question did the right thing and made the school a welcome and diverse environment for all of their pupils. Well done.”