There’s an intersectionality fight going on in Great Britain between humanists who had a program teaching tolerance to their schoolchildren about homosexuality and Muslims who forced the school to suspend the classes.
Parkfield Community School in Birmingham, England had classes in which a program titled “No Outsiders” taught that “families look different,” in an effort to teach schoolchildren about homosexuality. The Guardian reports that the program was created by assistant headteacher Andrew Moffat, “who was awarded an MBE for his work in equality education and is also in the running for a major international teaching award.” In the program, the students read books with titles such as “Mommy, Mama and Me” and “King & King.”
The Guardian adds that Moffat has been receiving threats through a leaflet campaign.
The community has a great number of Muslims; the program was pulled after the school received a petition last month with over 400 signatures from parents, mostly Muslim, who have withdrawn their children from the school in protest. The Guardian reported that last Friday, roughly 600 Muslim children, aged between four and 11, were withdrawn from the school for the day.
Humanists UK, which promotes sex education (RSE) in schools, called the school’s decision to pull the program a “deeply worrying” development. Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson stated:
We are deeply worried that the school has been forced to stop teaching these important classes due to mounting pressure from some Muslim parents. It is vital that all young people, some of whom will be LGBT themselves, grow up with age-appropriate information as to the facts of life and the virtue of tolerance. The UK Government has consistently said that schools will not be able to avoid teaching respect for LGBT people on the grounds of religion and we look to them now to take action. They should not give in to bullies who are opposing the values of respect, kindness, and tolerance for all in our society.
According to The Guardian, the classes will be postponed until at least the Easter break is over and after parents have been consulted. Although the British government announced the new RSE curriculum last week, it will not be implemented until September 2019.
The Guardian said that parents protesting the “No Outsiders” program have held signs stating, “Say no to promoting of homosexuality and LGBT ways of life to our children,” “Stop exploiting children’s innocence,” and “Education not indoctrination.”
Shabana Mahmood, the MP for Birmingham Ladywood, stated in the House of Commons, “None of my constituents is seeking particular or differential opt-outs at secondary school level. It is all about the age appropriateness of conversations with young children in the context of religious backgrounds.”
But Amanda Spielman, the chief of inspector of Ofsted, took the school’s side, arguing it was crucial that children knew about “families that have two mummies or two daddies.”