The Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham, England, like so many other schools, teaches kids that LGBTQ people exist and deserve respect and dignity. Yet that basic lesson in humanity has led to protests outside the school by radical Muslims who insist the head teacher is promoting some form of “social engineering” — as if talking about gay people will turn kids gay.
The protests outside the school were so overwhelming on Friday that nearly 600 kids were kept home on Monday. There are only 749 students at the school.
Meanwhile, the protesters were raging against the lessons, saying things like “This is so against the word of God” and “God created women for men’s pleasure.”
Now school officials are asking the government to institute an order of protection for the children, so they can continue receiving an education without having to walk through the chaos of the protesters.
It has led to officials and MPs including Birmingham Council leader Ian Ward and MP Jess Phillips to call for Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) to put in place safety exclusion zones at effected schools, similar to buffer zones used near abortion clinics.
Following the latest developments, Humanists UK, which campaigns for inclusive relationships and sex education (RSE), including promoting respect for LGBT people, called on leadership from the highest government level to intervene in the situation, and said it supported the introduction of such exclusion zones.
Humanists UK’s Education Campaigns Manager Dr Ruth Wareham said: ‘The recent appalling comments by protestors — including that “God created women for men’s pleasure” — show why all children need education on relationships and sex so that they have the information and advice available to help them lead healthy, happy, and safe lives.
‘It is crucial that the Government acts now to protect students at all of these schools by ensuring that they continue to receive their education, and that they feel safe to attend school. We also support officials’ moves to introduce safety exclusion zones so that children are not subjected to vile and harmful comments from protestors which send the message that LGBT people and women are not equal.’
It should be noted that the protest is led by a man, Shakeel Afsar, who doesn’t even have kids at the school. Which is to say these are outsiders who have no skin in the game. They just want to make sure strangers aren’t receiving education about a group of people they already deem heretical by their very nature. Their flyers condemn teachings like “You can have two Daddies” and “It is ‘OK to be gay'” and “You can wear boys or girls clothes.”
The school’s leader is pushing back against the lies they’re spreading and reminding people that this is about education. The kids deserve it even if the protesters reject it.
The headteacher, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, told Sky News “the vast majority of protesters are not parents”.
She said the outrage was “spoiling a child’s education, risking unauthorised absence fines, having unauthorised absence on a child’s records, creating division between school and families where there wasn’t any before”.
“The lies and misinformation are becoming more extreme. It’s very sad that a few resort to this. Seeking to divide communities and plant doubt in children’s minds about the teachers they have known their entire school life is unforgivable.“
If the protesters won’t go away, then the government needs to act. These religious zealots have no right to stop students from getting a proper education. If they want to brainwash kids about what God supposedly says, then they can preach in their religious homes.