A primary school in England was forced to put a curriculum that included lessons featuring same-sex couples on hold, despite the fact that they were found to be age appropriate, because Muslim parents complained.
To be clear, this class never discussed anything sexual. (Obviously.) The curriculum was all about inclusivity and acceptance of people who don’t fit “traditional” molds when it comes to topics like race, religion, and gender identity. The goal was to teach kids that those differences shouldn’t cause them to treat others disrespectfully.
Still, though, enough parents protested over the inclusion of LGBTQ issues in that mix that the school was forced to temporarily stop the class. Specifically, many of the complaints came from people who said LGBTQ rights werre incompatible with Islam.
Hazel Pulley, chief executive officer of the trust which runs the school, said some staff had lost weight and were not sleeping.
She added the situation had been the most “challenging” she has seen in 27 years in education.
There have been protests outside the school in Alum Rock over No Outsiders, with some parents claiming the lessons were age-inappropriate and incompatible with Islam.
Pulley tried to make it clear that nothing in the lessons asked kids to go against their family’s faith; you can treat same-sex couples with respect, for example, even if you believe homosexuality is a sin. Yet because of the backlash, the lessons were put on hold.
Keep in mind that many Muslims have accepted LGBTQ rights (or use those labels themselves). The same could be said of Christians. It’s a disservice to students to allow parents who hold conservative religious views to dictate what they can and can’t learn about living in society.
It’s important for kids to learn that families don’t all look alike. But the “very small, but vocal, minority of parents” seem to believe that exposing kids to the existence of same-sex couples is enough to make them gay. (That’s not how it works.)
Parkfield Community School in Birmingham says it has temporarily paused the class, just to allow for a discussion with the parents, but there is no telling when it will return. Here’s hoping reason wins out over faith-based bigotry.
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