A couple are planning to sue a Church of England primary school after the school allowed one of their male pupils to wear a dress.
The Christian family are now home schooling their six-year-old son. A year ago, they did the same thing with their eight-year-old boy.
Nigel and Sally Rowe wish to challenge the school’s approach, arguing that allowing children to dress as different genders is “confusing”.
“A child aged six would sometimes come to school as a girl or sometimes come to school as a boy. Our concerns were raised when our son came back home from school saying he was confused as to why and how a boy was now a girl,” Nigel told The Times.
“We believe it is wrong to encourage very young children to embrace transgenderism. Boys are boys and girls are girls. Gender dysphoria is something we as Christians need to address with love and compassion, but not in the sphere of a primary school environment.”
The school (which remains unnamed) has responded by saying its policies aim to tackle transphobic behaviour including refusing to use the child’s adopted name, an inability to believe a transgender person is a ‘real’ male or female, and using gender-inappropriate pronouns.
Transgender children were protected under the Equality Act 2010. The school has added that it follows guidance given by the Church of England.
Lawyers for the couple will argue against the Equality Act which only applies to people over 18. They will also state that the school is discriminating against the couple by implying that their wish to bring up their sons with biblical beliefs is transphobic.
Appearing on BBC Radio 4‘s ‘Today’ programme earlier today, the parents said that they’re calling for the boy in question to be helped in a “private space”, rather than in a primary school setting.
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) September 11, 2017
“It was the fact that he was identifying as a girl some days and as a boy other days, so the fact that he was dressing up in that manner and was trying to portray that particular gender on that day,” Mr Rowe commented. “So for us it was very difficult because it’s inconsistent.”
The couple added that they “show love to anyone and everyone” but didn’t want their child along with others to be confused.
People have criticised the couple, urging them to teach their two sons about diversity.
I’d be happy that a child being brought up with those values had left my child’s school.
— Julie Mather (@JulieMather) September 11, 2017
I’d be more concerned for their kids having parents with these views. Good luck to the brave pupil involved and well done to the school.
— Moss (@Mossflorist) September 11, 2017
This is transphobia from two adults directed at a 6 year old child. Embarrassing, illegal, unChristian and ill-informed but sadly not new pic.twitter.com/VX4yv4PSLf
— Chris Porter (@waterw0lf) September 11, 2017
Children need time, space and support to explore themselves and the world, parental preconceptions are harmful!
— Jo Doswell (@JoDoswell) September 11, 2017
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