A Christian couple are ‘taking a stand’ and suing their son’s primary school after a six-year-old boy was allowed to wear a dress in class.
Nigel and Sally Rowe have withdrawn their two boys from the Church of England school, claiming there is an ‘agenda overriding our beliefs’.
They believe it is wrong that young children have to confront the complex issue of transgenderism, and took action after their six-year-old son came home ‘confused as to why a boy was now a girl’. His brother, eight, was withdrawn a year ago over a similar incident.
Mr and Mrs Rowe, who live on the Isle of Wight, have accused the school of failing to respect their right to bring up their children in accordance with their religious values.
They said parents have not been consulted about the school’s policies to tackle transphobic behaviour, introduced to comply with the 2010 Equality Act.
The school said teachers are educating children about ‘gender inappropriate pronouns’ and encouraging them to see transgender people as ‘real’ males or females.
Mr Rowe, 44, said the children will now be home schooled. He said last night: ‘We’re doing it because we want to make a stand for parents like ourselves who feel there is an agenda going on that is overriding our beliefs.
‘There are a lot of people who are very angry about what is going on in our schools, but they are too afraid of voicing their opinions. We think that somebody has to speak out before it gets out of control.’
The plumber added: ‘In basic terms, we believe it is wrong to encourage very young and vulnerable children to embrace the false promise of transgenderism.
‘We think there is a real danger of children being left with psychological issues. They are complex social issues but the fact is they are too complex for a child.
‘We have great compassion for children with gender dysphoria. All children are special. But we think their parents are being served a huge injustice by the schools – they need more professional, private consultation.’
Lawyers for the couple will argue that the school is discriminating against them by implying that their Christian faith makes them transphobic. They will also suggest the school is wrong to rely on Labour’s Equality Act because legal recognition of gender reassignment only applies to people over the age of 18.
Mr and Mrs Rowe played an active role in the school, which has not been identified, and used to help take assemblies. Mrs Rowe, 42, said she had a good relationship with the mother of the six-year-old boy who came to school in a dress.
Paul Diamond, a lawyer specialising in religious discrimination, is understood to be acting for the couple, who also have support from the Christian Legal Centre.
The school said it is following Church of England guidance and rules laid out in the Equality Act, which encourages respect for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Teachers are briefed on how to tackle transphobic behaviour, which includes ‘gender inappropriate pronouns,’ an inability to accept a transgender person is a ‘real’ male or female and a refusal to use a transgender person’s adopted name.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Portsmouth, which covers the Isle of Wight, said: ‘Our schools are inclusive spaces where pupils learn to respect diversity. We comply with the legal requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and believe all should feel welcomed.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Scott Campbell and Tom Payne