A planned march by a South-London school to celebrate the end of LGBTI Pride month was cancelled after a backlash by angry parents.
Heavers Farm School in Croydon, South-East London had organised the march to celebrate the culmination of lessons they’d laid on to mark June’s Pride Month.
However, after having initially justified the LGBTI lessons as part of the statutory school curriculum, the Daily Mail reported that head teacher, Susan Papas, bowed-down to parental pressure.
‘We have used National Pride Month as a vehicle,’ the newspaper quoted Papas as saying. ‘All we have taught is that different families are made in different ways, and we accept and love everyone. That is it.
Surprise at parents’ strong ‘homophobic views’
‘I was surprised at how unembarrassed some parents were about coming into school and expressing quite strong homophobic views.’
The march was cancelled and the school held a scaled-down assembly instead. Even so, 20 children didn’t attend the school and another 90 failed to turn up that day.
While some parents had objected, others though, who were in favour of the march, expressed outraged that the school had backed down, branding those who had objected as bigots.
The Mail said some parents believed it was not the school’s job to explain sexual diversity to their children.
‘Of course we realise families different to our own exist,’ said Ruth Anderson, whose son attends the Croydon school.
‘But it’s up to us as parents when to explain this to our son — not to his school, whose head teacher is pushing an agenda that is entirely irrelevant to children this young.’
Educators need to embrace LGBTI inclusion
‘Our kids are not born racist, sexist, homophobic, biphobic, transphobic, they are born without prejudice,’ she said.
‘However, along their journey they can be exposed to negative barriers, which is why as educators we need to embrace LGBT+ inclusion from the get go in the education system. So it just becomes part of the fabric of your school.
She said, that despite the protests from parents, students are never too young to learn about different people. ‘Try telling a student with same gender parents or LGBTI family members that they are too young to know about LGBTI people!’
Barnes added that, as well as Ofsted criteria, schools must adhere to The Equality Act 2010, where all are treated equally and fairly.
‘We advocate for all teachers, students, parents and families to implement this, she said.