Police investigate ‘homophobic graffiti’ at Birmingham school amid row over LGBT+ sex education

Parents at school where 99 per cent of students are Muslim have been protesting against same-sex relationships being taught

Chiara Giordano
Friday 08 March 2019 22:04 GMT
Andrew Moffat, assistant head teacher at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham.
Andrew Moffat, assistant head teacher at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham.

Police are investigating reports of homophobic graffiti at a school where parents have been protesting against same-sex relationships being taught.

The vandalism at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham was reported to West Midlands Police by a school governor during the February half term holiday.

The force said it was also reviewing video footage circulating on social media to “establish whether any additional offences have taken place”.

Parents have been demonstrating against the school’s No Outsiders programme, which includes teaching about LGBT+ relationships.

In footage posted online, young children appear to be joining in chants of “shame” while adults use the megaphone to voice their opposition.

In one video, a man standing on the back of a flatbed truck covered in banners saying “our children, our choice” and “Stop! No Outsiders” says the programme is not just about teaching that other lifestyles exists.

“It is aggressively promoting them, giving it a positive spin, and telling people that it is OK for you to be Muslim and for you to be gay,” he claimed.

The school is currently taking a planned break from the inclusiveness classes which will resume after Easter.

Some parents, Christian and Muslim, who object to their children being taught about diversity despite belonging to minority groups themselves, have chosen to take their children out of the classes.

They claim the lessons, set up by assistant head teacher Andrew Moffat, who is openly gay, promote his personal beliefs.

Ezra Stripe, a spokeswoman for charity Hidayah, which provides support and welfare for LGBT members of the Muslim community, said the opposition to the programme was coming from a sense of “misplaced Muslim pride”.

She said: “It is depressing that we are still at this point today and it makes me aware of all the struggle our community has, in particular about isolation and shame and confusion.

“All this is just going to be duplicated in the next generation if we don’t start teaching this stuff.

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“It is a conservative viewpoint that homosexuality is forbidden.”

She added the No Outsiders programme is simply trying to teach that some children may have two mothers and that it does not go into the intricacies of the relationships.

Last month, Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman backed Mr Moffat, who has made the final of the Global Teacher Prize for his efforts to teach diversity.

Mr Moffat also runs a Parkfield Ambassadors after-school club which creates opportunities for children at his school, where 99 per cent of students are Muslim, to meet people from different races, religions and cultures around Birmingham.

A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said: “Parents have gathered outside Parkfield Community School exercising their right to protest peacefully on a number of occasions.

“Officers have been working closely with the school, the local community and the parents to facilitate the protests, and prevent a breach of the peace.

“No formal complaints have been made to West Midlands Police by Parkfield Community School or any of the staff who teach there.”

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