LGBT+ lessons: Protests on both sides of debate to take place despite court injunction

Campaign against equality lessons continues despite ban on demonstrations outside school gates

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Thursday 06 June 2019 23:43 BST
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Protests on both sides of the LGBT+ inclusive lessons debate will take place just a week after Birmingham City Council won an injunction preventing demonstrations outside a primary school.

Demonstrators who have been outside Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham for weeks will stage a fresh protests which are expected to attract hundreds to a nearby site.

It comes as a row over equality lessons in primary schools continues - with demonstrators arguing that teaching about the existence of families with same-sex parents is not “age-appropriate.”

An interim High Court injunction secured by the council has banned demonstrations taking place within an exclusion zone around the site.

But the protesters will now demonstrate just a few minutes’ walk from the school - outside the zone.

Shakeel Afsar, the organiser of the protests, who has a niece and nephew at the school, said: “The protest being held is in regards to the unlawful injunction. Parents feels like it shouldn’t be placed on them – and why have we been pushed out?”

The demonstrations outside schools in Birmingham have been sparked by some parents' who say they are concerned about teaching materials - including one picture book about two male penguins who raise an egg.

A group of LGBT+ campaigners will also stage a separate protest outside the surgery of local Labour MP Roger Godsiff, after he questioned the age appropriateness of the children's books.

The protesters will hand a letter to the MP, signed by more than 100 constituents, which calls for an apology and a public statement of support for Anderton Park Primary School.

Saima Razzaq, co-chair of Supporting Education of Equality and Diversity in Schools, an LGBT+ group set up following the protests, said the campaigners hope to make the MP understand “the catastrophic effects his comments will have on the mental health of young people.

It comes after Nick Gibb, schools minister, called it “bizarre and horrific” that protesters had been allowed outside schools to target those who teach what “wholly appropriate in today’s society”.

Writing in The Times this week, Mr Gibb said he supported the city council’s decision to secure an injunction against protests taking place outside Anderton Park Primary School.

A court is due to reconsider an injunction barring the protests from taking place next week.

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