Parents in Birmingham, England kept hundreds of students from classes at Parkfield Primary School on Friday (12 July) over LGBTI lessons.
Local reports indicate up to 500 students were kept from Parkfield Primary. The school said the number was closer to 370. Overall, the school enrolls around 700 students.
Muslim residents make up a large portion of the surrounding neighborhood’s residents. Parents belonging to the Parkfield Parents’ Group said conflicts left them with ‘no alternative option’ but to keep their children from school.
Conflict between the school and parents continued when Parkfield Primary announced it’d be resuming its LGBTI lessons in the fall.
The modified lesson plan, ‘No outsiders for a faith community’, was announced following months of citywide protests.
A school spokesperson said educators designed the new lessons ‘acknowledging and respecting the concerns and sensitivity expressed by some parents in the present school community’.
Parents, however, were not happy with the modified lesson plan. The Parents’ Group said the original plan, and now the new one, ‘is heavily biased towards LGBTQ, whereas an equality programme doesn’t need to be’.
Reaching a ‘distressing point’
Parents have indicated they are considering transferring their children to new schools entirely.
‘As an expression of frustration and dissatisfaction with the school’s leadership team and to best serve the educational interest of our children we had no alternative option but to hold a mass withdrawal of children from the school today (Friday),’ the Parents’ Group said in a statement.
‘Parents are reaching a distressing point to this ongoing standoff due to the fact we are unlikely to reach any positive outcome with the current school’s leadership team…parents are currently seeking to move their children to alternative local schools and considering home schooling options to best serve the needs of their children’s educational needs.’
Since the lesson protests first began earlier this year, the Parents’ Group indicated its stance against the lessons with a February blog post.
A clash of ideologies
The protests in Birmingham have become a highly political and volatile situation.
Politicians, activsts, and more began taking sides in the debate. The head of the UK school watchdog, Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, came down in favor of the schools and LGBTI-inclusive lessons.
A May survey also showed most Britons approve of same-sex relationships in children’s books.
A Department for Education spokesperson praised Parkfield Primary for consulting with parents and changing its curriculum as a result.
‘There is no reason why teaching children about the society that we live in and the different types of loving, healthy relationships that exist cannot be done in a way that respects everyone’s views,’ the spokesperson added.
Parkfield Primary and the Parents’ Group did not respond to GSN’s request for comment before publication.