Angry Parents Lobby Petition Against Scheme
Parents have reacted angrily and have signed a petition asking for a Birmingham primary school to stop teaching their children about homosexuality.
Worried parents of students from Clifton Primary School in Balsall Heath are asking the school to end plans which would teach their children about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.
In a petition addressed to the school, parents said the subject “conflicted” with their religious beliefs of the children, who are predominantly Muslim – along with the fact that they believed four-year-olds were too young to be taught the subject.
The petition was brought to the school after it held meetings with parents to said it would be implementing the Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools (CHIPS) programme.
The programme would use books, music and videos to explain to pupils about children that grow up in all types of families – including those with LGBT parents.
One parent, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s not just a Muslim issue, it is an opinion shared across all faiths.
“The material needs to be age appropriate and we do not feel it is. Four-year-olds should be allowed to be children, this is taking their innocence away. They should go to school to play with their dolls or play in the playground. I know it’s part of life and they need to learn about it, but I feel it would be more appropriate when they are in Year 5 or Year 6.”
Headteacher Christine Mitchell said: “We have had three consultation meetings with parents where we explained how CHIPS worked and showed them the books we will use.
“We explained we were planning to introduce this in line with advice from the local authority. We have been open and honest and are trying to have a dialogue with them. We have always taught diversity and equality and it is important that the wider public know that.”
Elly Barnes, the city’s LGBT advisor to schools, said, “It’s not about sex. We are teaching about different families.
“A child might have a single parent, or is being raised by their grandparents. They might have two mums or a brother who is gay. We are eradicating negative and discriminating language. It’s about making sure we treat everyone in our community fairly and equally. We need to make sure every child in our care feels represented and safe in their school environment or we are not doing our job properly.”