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Is There a Right Age to Teach Children About LGBTQ+ Equality?

by in World on 5th March, 2019

On Friday the 1st of March about 600 Muslim children from the ages of 4-11 years old were withdrawn from Parkfield community school, by parents and guardians, in Saltley, Birmingham, for one day, the school would not confirm numbers. The children from reception age all the way up to six were being taught five “No Outsiders” lessons a year, each one covering topics to meet requirements in the Equality Act, which include lessons on LGBTQ equality. The children were withdrawn over concerns around the content of some lessons and whether they are age appropriate.

Parent Fatima Shah was first to raise the issue, she explains that there are concerns about whether the content is age appropriate and that children have been getting confused.

“We are not a bunch of homophobic mothers,” she said. “We just feel that some of these lessons are inappropriate. Some of the themes being discussed are very adult and complex and the children are getting confused.

“They need to be allowed to be children rather than having to constantly think about equalities and rights.”

Parent Maqsood Hussain said:

“We have no discrimination against people of transgender or LGBTQ+ persuasion, we as a community are very welcoming”.

“But our children and the ages they are actually providing this material is inappropriate.”

The school’s ethos is to promote LGBTQ+ equality and challenge homophobia in primary schools through teaching them about homosexuality but the lessons have now been stopped, parents claim it was not education but “an indoctrination of gay and transgender lifestyles”. As the issue developed a letter was sent to parents from the board trustee who runs the school who confirmed that after a meeting between Andrew Warren, the regional school’s commissioner for the West Midlands, parents, the trust, and Liam Byrne MP, it was decided that a full consultation would take place with parents.

The letter states:

“The discussions were a helpful first step and identified the key issues that are concerning parents, including the ethos, the books, the age appropriateness, the lessons and the assemblies. The agreed outcome of the meeting was the need to have a discussion with the school community about the No Outsiders curriculum and how it should be delivered.”

The school have also responded publically to an article published by the Guardian and called it misleading.

Many have supported the unity of the Muslim parents and expressed that parents should be consulted and that a breach of parental rights has occurred whilst others are worried about the message this sends to parents and children who may identify as LGBTQ+ at the school and surrounding area.

What are your thoughts? If you’d like to write for on the topic please email [email protected]

Are you a Muslim Parent at Parkfield? Would you like to write about the response and situation?

Selina Bakkar

Selina Bakkar

Co-founder of Amaliah amongst many other roles. Selina is passionate about empowering those around her and just trying to be a better person. She loves looking after plants and a good cuppa because motherhood and running is not for the faint hearted. She is also Co-founder to Aishah and Eesa and currently a one digit mother, Alhamdulilah. You will find her in the local charity shop, garden centre or park with her kids. Have a listen to the Amaliah Voices podcast. Link in bio peeps. To join the Amaliah Writer Community email me at [email protected]