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British Performing Arts High School Cancels J.K. Rowling, Removes Her Name
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22: J.K. Rowling poses at "Harry Potter and The Cursed Child parts 1 & 2" on Broadway Opening Night at The Lyric Theatre on April 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic/GettyImages

A British performing arts school which had honored Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling removed her name because of what they called her “comments and viewpoints surrounding trans people.”

The Boswells School in Chelmsford, Essex, replaced Rowling’s name with Olympic track star Dame Kelly Holmes after “requests from students and staff.”

According to The Daily Mail, a newsletter stated:

The Boswells House System embeds a sense of community, friendship and healthy competition amongst both students and staff.

A strong house identity empowers our students to participate and thrive in all aspects of school life, both in and out of the classroom. Here at the Boswells we have 6 Houses which are represented by British citizens who have excelled in an area of our Boswells Learning Bridge which includes integrity, emotional intelligence, grit, resourcefulness, self-discipline and bravery.

However, following numerous requests by students and staff we are reviewing the name of our red house “Rowling” and in light of J.K Rowling’s comments and viewpoints surrounding trans people. Her views on this issue do not align with our school policy and school beliefs – a place where people are free to be.

Staff have been invited to put forward suggestions of names for the house. Once shortlisted a vote will go out to the whole school to select a new House name.

Prior to the school’s decision to revoke Rowling’s name, the school referred to her as “the much-loved series of seven Harry Potter novels,” also asserting that her name fit the “self-discipline” themed house because “Rowling states that success takes constant practice, self-discipline and requires us to get up when we fail and try again.”

“However, if we do not complete the tasks we set ourselves, then we will never create a foundation of self-trust and discipline to improve on in the first place,” the school had said.

Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School in Richmond has also canceled Rowling’s name. “The school – which caters to young children aged three to 11 – claims pupils had asked for the house names to be more diverse. It then replaced Churchill and Rowling with England star Marcus Rashford and nurse Mary Seacole,” The Daily Mail reported in mid-November.

Michele Marcus of the Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School school chair of governors wrote in a newsletter: “The change was entirely driven and led by our pupils and they feel proud of having effected this change and knowing their views were heard. There may be further interest in the subject and I hope you will support the school in our position.”

Last July, Rowling, who has endured vitriol and abuse from transgender activists, fired back at someone who sent her a death threat over Twitter, wishing her to receive a pipe bomb in her mailbox. Rowling blasted, “To be fair, when you can’t get a woman sacked, arrested or dropped by her publisher, and cancelling her only made her book sales go up, there’s really only one place to go.”

The exchange had been triggered when Rowling replied to a critic who quoted her saying, “I’ve ignored porn tweeted at children.” Rowling fired back, “Juan, I’ll give you a moment to think hard about leaving that up. I reported every bit of porn so-called trans allies tweeted into Twitter threads where children were sending me artwork for the Ickabog. I didn’t respond or retweet it because I didn’t want more kids to see it.”

She continued, “I’m not sure how these tactics – using porn as a weapon against women you dislike, not caring that children get caught in the crossfire and then misrepresenting what really happened – are supposed to help trans people. Nor do I see how what you’ve done here helps correct the impression that the end game for you & your ilk is to intimidate women out of speaking up for our own rights, no matter how low you have to go to do it.”

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