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UK Parents May Face Prosecution for Gay Curriculum Protest

Some parents removed their students from a London primary school recently for a week when the students were to be taught a gay-themed curriculum. The school now says it may take legal action:

Georgetomlinson "Around 30 pupils from an east London primary school were absent from a week of special lessons to highlight non-heterosexual partnerships. To mark the event some students watched a special adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet retitled Romeo and Julian. Stories covered in the lessons at George Tomlinson School included a fairytale about a prince who turns down three princesses before falling in love with one of their brothers and the tale of Roy and Silo - two male penguins who fall in love.

The protesting parents said the content was more appropriate for secondary school pupils and now they face possible court action..Officials at Waltham Forest Council said there were unauthorised absences from George Tomlinson School when it covered topics relevant to lesbian, gay and transgender history. They said action had been taken against the protesting parents but are currently refusing to say how they plan to punish them...To deal with truant pupils Waltham Forest Council can make parents can sign a contract, impose fines or bring them to court."

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Comments

  1. Yeah, not so much. Parents should be able to make that decision.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Mar 9, 2009 11:07:43 AM


  2. No they should not. Bigots should not have the right to indoctrinate children with hate. God bless the UK.

    Posted by: Bob | Mar 9, 2009 11:15:42 AM


  3. Please understand that I'm not agreeing with the parents' decision... I just think that this is an overstepping by the state. I don't support governmental intrusion into private matters even if I agree with the reason why. If the school is largely supportive of GLBT equality, then the effect of being educated in that environment will be massive and beneficial even if the kids in question are not there on "learning about gays" day. Let the bigots keep their kids out for a day. The rest of the year will make a bigger difference.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Mar 9, 2009 11:34:58 AM


  4. Romeo and Julian: A Love Story with Donnie Russo?!?
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0228791/

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Mar 9, 2009 11:40:14 AM


  5. I agree Milkman, 100%

    Posted by: gabriel | Mar 9, 2009 11:45:11 AM


  6. What Milkman said...

    Posted by: taodon | Mar 9, 2009 12:19:38 PM


  7. What exactly is a gay curriculum? I did not know English schools had a relationship class. Never mind the kids probably cannot read.
    All Hail Big Brother!

    Posted by: ousslander | Mar 9, 2009 12:34:10 PM


  8. Agreed with Milkman too.

    Posted by: occono | Mar 9, 2009 1:10:32 PM


  9. While I agree that parents should be responsible for imparting values, I'm not so sure that the parents should be responsible for setting the curriculum in schools.

    If we did that in the states, we'd have children learning intelligent design, abstinence only education, etc. Often parents want to keep blinders on the children and protect them from knowledge that the kids already partially know.

    On one hand, we rail against school bullying and murders like Lawrence King but also say that parents shouldn't be required to have their children attend classes that show gay relationships as normal to help reduce that bullying.


    Posted by: Ed | Mar 9, 2009 1:26:48 PM


  10. This is NOT a good idea for anyone. Conservatives in America are going to run with this story and say "see, it will happen here too." Which of course if it did I'd be in a bigger uproar over.

    In regards to Milkmans comment, it does not make someone a bigot for removing their child from a lesson they find questionable. it makes them a responsible parent. That was part of the argument for prop 8 in CA. Christians fell for the lie that they wouldn't be able to remove their kids from thos types of lessons. Wrong. A parent has every right. The govt should not interfere in such matters.

    Posted by: Pomo | Mar 9, 2009 1:34:14 PM


  11. How is the educational curriculum a private matter? Should parents be allowed to pull their children out when a historical study is being undertaken because they are Holocaust deniers? If the State provides the education, the State sets the curriculum.

    Posted by: Mikey | Mar 9, 2009 2:28:02 PM


  12. No, Pomo, the parents' removal of their child from the lesson doesn't make them bigots. It is the motivation for the removal that makes them bigoted.

    Public schools are run by the state, yes... but are financed by the taxpayers. Therein lies the conundrum. Curricula are always set influenced by the overarching culture of the community. No one is going to be entirely pleased 100% of the time. That's why it's important that parents take an active role in their child's education.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Mar 9, 2009 2:41:11 PM


  13. The parents don't actually sound like monsters as quoted. They said such teaching was more appropriate for secondary school, which isn't an outlandish view (the students were 10 and under). Also, it says it was a week of special events, but I assume it wasn't all gay, every day. Instead it was probably an hour or two a day, sort of like sex ed was when I was in school (and which parents could keep their kids out of for those hours).

    Sounds like the school should have allowed an opt out, and it sounds like the parents shouldn't have pulled their kids for the entire week unless it really was six hours a day of gay. A middle ground was possible.

    Posted by: Dadaist | Mar 9, 2009 2:53:27 PM


  14. When is child abuse a private matter?

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 9, 2009 3:01:38 PM


  15. It's not really anything to do with the curriculum actually - although the LGBT angle would disgruntle any faculty who care enough to arrange so much stuff for history month; unauthorised absences are a big issue in some parts of the country over here.

    UK state schools are audtited, tabulated and leagued to the nth degree - this stunt contributed 150 more truancy days to their stats which could have a tangible effect on the school's funding, management and/or job security.

    Folk have been threatened with legal action - and possibly prosecuted at some level I imagine - for taking children out of school for holidays, so the legal aspect is nothing exceptional over here.

    Being a London school though, discrimination of this kind would be pretty much a zero tolerance issue amongst both the sympathetic and unsympathetic faculty & board; in a cultural melting-pot environment schools cannot afford to budge an inch when 'concerned' parents want to start preaching/censoring particulars.

    Posted by: PM | Mar 9, 2009 3:03:51 PM


  16. And yes, indoctrinating children into religious bigotry is child abuse insofar as those beliefs are harmful to the children and those they interact with, which they are. Further, this was about religious intolerance of the subject matter, and the statement by ONE of the parents that it is not an appropriate age is a clear attempt to put a smiley face on religious hate (avoid prosecution, duh), as they wouldn't (and probably didn't) object to heterosexual relationships being discussed or contained in the curriculum, and would have objected if it were taught in secondary school--after they'd, ya know, gotten the chance to pollute their young minds with their rubbish skydaddy morality. If there is no harm in the curriculum (which seems pretty harmless), and can only promote tolerance to the children exposed by giving them an OPTION (the real threat that the parents are responding to whatever the proximite cause), then there's no argument against it other than a parent's right to abuse a child, and I don't consider that a private matter nor a parental right.

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 9, 2009 3:18:35 PM


  17. Unquestionably the parents were wrong to take their children out of school for a week. It was simply a bigoted action.

    Posted by: Gabe R L | Mar 9, 2009 3:50:14 PM


  18. It the responsibility of the parents and the school to teach children about the world, humanity, and nature. Homosexuality and gay relationships are part of that. Plain and simple.

    Posted by: David R. | Mar 9, 2009 4:20:47 PM


  19. Um, the parents kept their kids out of school for a week because of their beliefs? That's a form of neglect. It's ridiculous to call this responsible parenting. It may not have been for a gross amount of time, but it was still for unjustifiable reasons (yes, they may not agree with what is being taught, but this was not the way to handle it).

    Posted by: Sam | Mar 9, 2009 6:43:00 PM


  20. Isn't it time for Heterosexuals to ask themselves WHY?

    WHY are we doing this to our Gay & Lesbian creations?

    WE are creating the Gays & Lesbians, whether by nature OR nurture. WE are creating them.

    So why are we not looking out for our very own creations?

    Posted by: Chris | Mar 9, 2009 8:05:42 PM


  21. I wonder how many of those children who were kept out of school during this time are questioning or realizing their own sexuality right now.

    Posted by: Rey | Mar 10, 2009 12:21:31 AM


  22. We did not create queers they chose to be what they are. They just have this malfunction which they wish for everyone to accept. What happened to freedom of speech and belief? Peoole have religous values unlike some peoole. If the school is now willing to take them into consideration then the parents have every right to take their children from school. Plus usually these kibds of parents who achieve alot more because the parents an active role in their children's education. The other parents who are not concerned with what their children will learn wouldn't even know the existant of this week. So there we are. Just to let the queers know the reasoning behind this action.

    And please don't contradict yourself my saying that queers have rights because we str8 people have rights as well and that right being of believeing in whatever we want. Str8 people mightnot attack queers but they have every right to disagree with queers actions.

    Posted by: H | Mar 10, 2009 5:52:40 AM


  23. Oh, what a cry baby homophobe! The school says it was unauthorised, so that means the parents did not have the right to do what they did. They have every right not to like it, but withdrawing them from school for a whole week is not the right choice. Were those kids being educated at all that week while they were gone from school- besides learning that bigotry is fine that is? You do not intimidate, just sound immature and ridiculous. It was not in the best interests of the children to remove these kids from school, only the parents, whose selfish actions may damage their kids forever.

    Posted by: Gabe R L | Mar 10, 2009 1:41:36 PM


  24. @H,
    at what point in your sad existence did you decide to be str8 and stupid? oh wait, your parents had nothing to do with the former, but everything to do with the latter. see how the sons pay for the ignorance of the fathers?

    sit down bitch, you don't have this!

    Posted by: nic | Mar 11, 2009 5:50:31 AM


  25. The whole point of this Gay week was to teach that non-heterosexual relationships exist. This is a fact of life just as it is a historical fact that there was once a U.S President called J.F.K. There may be some disagreement in both cases on various issues, some may regard same sex relationships as equal to opposite sex relationships while others may regard it as immoral, some may consider J.F.K to be a great leader others not so much but in neither case does the fact that gays exists or that there was a President J.F.K change regardless of your level of ignorance. Consider this would it be acceptable to pull your kids out of history class on the days that cover J.F.K, no it would not. The same is true here, they are teaching these kids that these non-heterosexual relationships exist and that it is not okay to lash out and attack and abuse these people both of which are simple facts. Those that argue that failing to attend these lessons will not cause the kids any harm are wrong especially when their parents are fanatics who teach their children that gays are sub-human. Without these classes this kind of view can not be properly countered and can one day lead the child to act on the view that gays are sub-human by attacking and possibly killing some gay and then languishing in prison or on death row because of the bigotry their parents inordinate them with was never questioned. Despite what some fundamentalist might think or want killing gay people is just as much of a crime as killing straight people, the gay panic defence is not a justifiable reason to commit murder. No one questions the need for anti-racism classes or training, or anti-sexism classes or training both of which teach tolerance but tolerance towards gays is somehow different.

    As for those that argue that this is not the appropriate age for this kind of class the truth is the best time for these classes is when a child is young enough that they are not set in their ways and also before homophobic bullying begins. Also the question remains would these parents have still pulled their kids out even if the classes had been at the high school level.

    Posted by: dan | Mar 23, 2009 1:23:45 PM


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