Hundreds of children who attend Anderton Park Primary School have been taken out as protesters continue to campaign against the teaching of LGBT.

Shakeel Afsar who, this week, argued with MP Jess Phillips who turned up to support the LGBT community, confirmed a pre-planned rally would be going ahead on Friday.

Mr Afsar, who shouts into a megaphone outside the gates in Moseley, claims demonstrations have continued because the school is using “children as pawns”.

Mr Afsar whose children do not attend the school is the main organiser of the protests.

Mr Afsar claims teaching about LGBT equality at Anderton Park School is “over-emphasising a gay ethos”.

He added: “The parents in school feel, first and foremost, the children are too young, and second that it is counter to their moral and ethical values.”

He has rejected allegations the protests are homophobic, claiming the school should respect the protesters’ “moral beliefs”.

In an exchange outside the school on Monday, Labour MP Jess Phillips told Mr Afsar demonstrators could not “pick and choose” which equality they apply.

The city council sent a community protection warning to Mr Afsar on May 2, directing him not to interfere or attempt to interfere with the school’s operation.

Mr Afsar has questioned the warning’s legal basis, and, in any case, added he would would “breach” the terms of such a warning.

He said: “I am ready to go Magistrates’ Court. I’m ready with my lawyers, because I am in this for the long haul.”

Mr Afsar condemned any threats made against headteacher or staff, and said: “I would never support any threats against any person.

“It’s not how we run a democratic society.”

Chief Constable Dave Thompson said he watched with “increasing concern” as a group of protesting parents have gathered outside the gates in Dennis Road.

He added: “Frankly, a primary school is no place for the continuance of a large scale protest, however lawful.”

Mr Thompson added that on Sunday night there had been a “number of criminal offences” which had taken place near the school in Dennis Road, Moseley.

The force received reports of assaults and criminal damage at about 9.30pm on Sunday 19 May.

It came after counter-demonstrators were reportedly egged, after hanging up signs and placards on the school’s gate, some of which read “love is the answer”.

The force is also investigating malicious communications after headteacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson alleged she had been sent threatening messages, as seven weeks of protests have dragged on.

Councillor Ian Ward, the leader of the local authority, said: “It’s one thing for parents to ask questions about elements of a school curriculum.

“It’s quite another for others to pounce on the situation as an excuse to peddle hatred and misinformation.”

In a comment directed to “all those involved”, Chief Constable Thompson added: “Views are entrenching with a determination to win this argument.

“This is creating an environment where those who seek division will have cause to celebrate and to exploit.

“Frankly, a primary school is no place for the continuance of a large scale protest, however lawful.

“In this holy period of Ramadan, and as we celebrate Birmingham Pride in our city, I urge those involved and those who can influence these events to think again and consider how they can come together to discuss these strongly held views and bring this protest to an end.

“West Midlands Police cannot solve this problem but we will support all involved in seeking a dialogue and a solution.

“Equally, we will act where people see to exploit these matters and break the law.”

Meanwhile, the MP for the city primary school, Roger Godsiff, has said four and five-year-olds are too young to learn about LGBT.

Mr Godsiff is Labour MP for Birmingham Hall Green, which includes Anderton Park Primary School in Sparkhill.

He said he has “concerns” about the appropriateness of teaching children aged four and five about the existence and equality of same sex families.

He also questioned whether it was a good thing to introduce books like The Princess Boy to little children and that he “understood” why people had issues with “this type of material.”

He said more ‘sensitive’ consultation was needed because some local families had difficulty accepting equality legislation because of their religious beliefs.

And he urged head teacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson and the city council to ‘seek an injunction’ if the protesters were breaking the law.

The MP said: “I support the head teacher, absolutely, I support all teachers.

“I am clear that parents do not have a right to veto what is taught in schools on equality.

“I have voted in favour of all the legislation on relationships and equality.

“But I think we must all do nothing else to exacerbate tensions. Calm needs to prevail.”

He added: “I have talked to the head teacher and heard her set of events and about what is taught, books used and so on.”

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has issued his stance on the protests outside Anderton Park Primary School.

He said: “My heart goes out to the pupils of Anderton Park who are having to walk past these protests every day.

“This is not the environment they should be attending school in and nothing will be resolved by megaphone diplomacy. Both sides must sit down and talk.

“It should also be clarified that this is not LGBT teaching, it is equalities teaching that is part of a national requirement.

“The LGBT element is very small and, according to the schools, age-appropriate.

“I absolutely defend the right of schools to carry out this teaching.”



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