NEWS
03/06/2019 15:32 BST

Protests Against LBGT Lessons In Birmingham Move To Local Council Following School Gate Ban

An exclusion zone was set up outside the Anderton Park primary school gates following a High Court injunction.

Protesters against the teaching of LGBT+ lessons in a Birmingham primary school are descending on the local council after they were banned from demonstrating outside school gates.

On Monday, protesters held a press conference outside Birmingham City Council’s offices, labelling the seeking of an injunction “unjust” and “irresponsible”.

The council made the application for High Court injunction following several weeks of protests outside Anderton Park Primary School in the city.

Citing “increasing fears for the safety and well-being of the staff, children and parents”, the council said it pursued legal action after the situation had become “too serious to tolerate”.

The interim injunction covers the streets immediately surrounding the school and prevents protesters printing or distributing leaflets, inviting others to protest and encouraging people to congregate at the entrance.

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Anyone who breaches the injunction risks being arrested.

The injunction also prohibits social media being used to make offensive or abusive comments about staff members, according to the order published on the council’s website.

The protests were sparked over some parents’ concerns about elements of the teaching materials, including two books: one about two male penguins who raise an egg, and another about a boy who wears a dress.

Rosina Afsar, who has two children at Moseley-based Anderton Park school, told the Press Association: “We will challenge the injunction in court, we will also judicially review all of the unjust and irresponsible behaviour by the school and council.

“We are also left with no option but to continue with our peaceful protests, starting this Friday.”

A £50,000 crowdfunding appeal has been set up by Shakeel Afsar, one of the protest coordinators, to challenge the injunction. More than £2,000 had been raised by Monday afternoon.

Those protesting against LGBT teachings will have a chance to make their case to a judge on June 10.

The school’s headteacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson previously labelled the protests “toxic and nasty” and signalled the intention to pursue an injunction, following repeated protests, before it was granted on Friday.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds ordered that LGBT protests outside the primary school “have to stop”.

Speaking to ITV news, Hinds said that children and teachers should be able to go to school without having to go through protesters.

“All children of all ages should know about relationships and should be respectful of other people’s relationships,” he said.

Hinds, raised as a Catholic, added: “I happen to have a faith which has love at its heart, actually, and I think that’s true for people of faith in general as it is for people who don’t have any faith.

“Of course different religions have their own different traditions and in this country we have diversity in our school system, including faith schools.

“Religion itself is one of the so-called protected characteristics, we respect the fact that people do come from different faith backgrounds. But the law of the land is the law of the land. Diversity and equality are a matter of fact and a matter of law and it’s right that we respect that in schools.”

It comes after the city’s Parkfield Community School announced it would be suspending its No Outsiders programme – which teaches children about characteristics protected by the Equality Act – until a resolution has been reached with parents.

The school was at the centre of similar protests earlier this year, with parents reportedly pulling their children out of lessons over the classes.

Anderton Park has not adopted the No Outsiders lessons, but parents have demonstrated daily over claims that not enough information has been given out by the school regarding its efforts to teach tolerance and respect of minorities.