Equality lessons row: Head feared meeting would become ‘like The Jeremy Kyle Show’

Equality lessons row: Head feared meeting would become ‘like The Jeremy Kyle Show’
News
Posted on 14 Oct 2019

The headteacher of Birmingham’s Anderton Park primary school has told the high court that she didn’t hold a mass meeting with parents who were opposed to the school’s teaching of LGBT-inclusive lessons, for fear that it would become “like the Jeremy Kyle show”.


Speaking this afternoon, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson is reported by BirminghamLive as saying: “When I was deputy head, we had a big meeting to discuss our teaching of puberty and growing up. It became very aggressive. There were attempts to separate men and women, women were sent to sit at the back of the hall, a couple of people were very vocal.

“There was shouting and braying and we had to abandon the meeting. 


“I was not prepared to risk a repeat - it was such a sensitive issue.”

The high court hearing, which began this morning, will determine whether there should be a permanent exclusion zone around Anderton Park, to stop anti-LGBT-lessons protests from taking place, has begun in the high court.


The hearing, which is the latest chapter in the ongoing row concerning the teaching of lessons containing information about LGBT relationships, is expected to last three or more days.

A temporary exclusion zone around Anderton Park came into force during the summer term to stop parents and activists from protesting outside the school gates. 


The predominantly Muslim school has been at the centre of the LGBT-lessons controversy which has also engulfed another Birmingham primary, Parkfield Community School.

The protesters’ perspective is that the lessons about LGBT relationships are not age-appropriate and are at odds with the religious views of the majority of Muslim parents.


As well as demonstrating against the lessons, the protesters have also demanded the resignation of Anderton Park’s head teacher, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson.

The school has been teaching the lessons for several years.


According to BirminghamLive, Mr Jonathan Manning QC, representing Birmingham City Council, today confirmed that the council is looking to make further representations about activity relating to the case, including, he says, a “hurtful, harmful and totally untrue” allegation that a convicted paedophile has been invited into the school to ‘teach anal sex’.

The court has also heard police witness statements, included in which is a reference to an incident in which a protester called a police officer ‘bacon breath’.


It has further heard that a visiting imam who joined a protest by more than 300 people claimed there were ‘paedophiles’ in the school. The defendants later issued a retraction on video, stating that they did not support the claim.

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