When UK mother Mrs Izzy Montague enrolled her son at the Heaver’s Farm Primary School in South London, she did not envisage that normal school activities for a four-year-old would include taking part in a compulsory LGBT pride parade at the school.
Nor did she expect to be told, when she complained, that her son would not be able to opt out of the event.
Mrs Montague has now launched legal action against the school, with the assistance of the Christian Legal Centre, claiming direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation and breach of statutory duty under the UK’s Education Act 1996 and Human Rights Act 1998.
Christian Concern has noted that this case is “the first time that a UK court will scrutinise the legality of imposing LGBT ideology on primary schools.”
Mrs Montague is alleging the school’s attitude towards her changed completely after she made her complaint:
“It was like being bullied. They stopped treating me like any other parent but were antagonistic towards me. I believe that they retaliated against me by unreasonably excluding me from the premises, victimising my child and not taking my safeguarding concerns seriously.”
At a formal meeting between Mrs Montague and the school hierarchy to discuss the concerns, the head teacher’s daughter wore a t-shirt which read: “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic, when you can just be quiet?”
If this is where public schooling is headed, then the need for Christian schools is all the more compelling.
Religious families are gradually being forced to abandon public schools due to the demonstrated and incompatible ideological commitments of those schools in recent years.
To date in Australia, religious schools have been free to provide the schooling environment that people of faith want and need to be able to bring up their children in accordance with their conviction.
This will most certainly change if recent Australian Law Reform Commission’s proposals are accepted by the government and made into law. They will have the effect of eliminating the essential differences between religious and government schools by removing religious protections and imposing a uniformly secular understanding of education on all schools, which in the words of Stephen McAlpine, will “ensure that Christian schools cannot retain their distinctives when it comes to ethical matters”.
This will leave people of faith with few alternatives for their children’s education, breaching their fundamental rights to educate their children in accordance with their religious beliefs, as guaranteed by Article 18(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
HRLA urges all Australians who are concerned about this attack on religious freedom to attend two webinars being hosted by the Australian Christian Lobby to become better informed about this critical issue, and learn how they can speak up.
Wednesday 15 February, 7:30pm (AEDT)
Thursday 16 February, 7:30pm (AEDT)
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