Mostly Muslim parents who had been demonstrating outside a primary school in Birmingham, UK, against the teaching of same-sex relationships have been banned from the area by court order.
Birmingham City Council was granted a temporary High Court injunction which says people, “shall not… organise, engage in, or encourage any other person to engage in any protest against the teaching of equalities at Anderton Park Primary School”. It also says that people breaking the injunction could be sent to prison.
Education Secretary Damien Hinds welcomed the injunction and said parents should share their views, and schools should listen, but added “However, what is taught and how is ultimately a decision for schools. Consultation does not mean parents have a veto on curriculum content.”
Parents protesting against same-sex relationships classes at the school have said they are being treated worse than fascists and the injunction was “disproportionate and unjust”.
The parents are calling for three things: For the current RSE programme and teaching around LGBTQ relationships at the school to be suspended; a proper consultation involving third parties where the parents, not the school, decide who represents the parents; and, for any future programmes to be both age-appropriate and religiously sensitive.
While the protests have been led by Muslim parents, they have been joined by Christians also.
Former Cabinet minister and Conservative party leadership candidate, Esther McVey, has backed the right of parents to withdraw their children from Relationships Education at primary school. Speaking to Sky News, she said that with young children, “parents need to have the final say”. Local Labour MP Jess Phillips, however, said the parents seem to want to “unravel equalities legislation in their image,” and “They have got to understand that equalities legislation protects them, and you can’t pick and choose.”