Midlands Muslim protesters have taken their campaign of hate to a Nottingham school – but they didn’t exactly receive a warm welcome…
Anti-gay activists leading protests against LGBT-inclusive education at schools in Birmingham have taken their campaign of hate to the gates of another junior school more than 50 miles away in Nottinghamshire, sparking fury amongst local parents.
A blogger going by the telling name BullyKhan uploaded videos to Facebook urging people to join in the protest at Fernwood Primary and Nursery School in Wollaton on Monday 22 July at 8.30am.
Homophobic campaigners including the hideous Amir Ahmed – who has helped co-ordinate protests outside Parkfield Community School and Anderton Park Primary School in Brum in recent months, despite not having children at either school – turned up outside Fernwood, the third highest performing infant school in Nottingham, according to the government’s SATs tests, in recent days to protest against equality lessons being taught there, Midlands rag Birmingham Live reports.
This particular news story caught my eye because, apart from the obvious equality issue, Fernwood happens to be the first school in the UK my mother and dear departed aunt attended, in the cold and grey Britain of the mid to late 1950s.
Speaking outside Fernwood Primary School earlier today, Mr Ahmed continued to espouse homophobia under the guide of religious freedom as he told Birmingham Live: “These lessons are indoctrinating children that LGBT relationships are normal. Traditional families are about modesty and chastity. They are diminishing. Just as their family structure is important to them, our structure is important to us.”
Iban Adam, 42, who travelled to the protest from Birmingham, said: “No-one understands discrimination more than Muslims. We have respect for everyone. But relationships should not be discussed to young children at primary school. It’s psychologically confusing.”
Reassuringly, however, parents at Fernwood have wasted no time orchestrating their own counter-protest against the unwelcome visitors, with many taking rainbow Pride flags to the school gates to show their support for the school’s inclusive curriculum.
One video shared on Twitter shows a woman pulling up at the side of the road next to an anti-gay protester before branding him a “horrible, nasty man” and telling him to leave. Right on.
Rikki Marr, 41, who has three sons at Fernwood Primary said: “The protest over there is a great advert for why RSE (Relationship & Sex Education) lessons are important. We don’t want our children to grow up to be ignorant. All these lessons are teaching is that all relationships are equal.”
Brett Griffin-Young, a gay father with two children at Fernwood told Sky News: “I have no idea, honestly no idea why they’ve chosen this school, but they picked the wrong school. I think it’s actually backfired a bit on them because it’s been used as a teaching opportunity. All of the kids are now very aware of LGBT issues.”
David Gretton, 47 who has one daughter at the school and was part of the counter protest, said:
“I do not recognise anyone from the protest on the other side. However, we are all parents here. I think they chose Fernwood because it’s a large school – was it a good choice? No.”
“These lessons at primary level aren’t even about sex, they need to look at what the school is actually teaching.”
Emmanuel – who did not wish to give his last name – is a parent of two children at the school and described the protest as “outrageous”. He said:
“I think it’s brilliant to see the counter-protest, I think we should focus on that. The other protest is outrageous, it’s nothing to do with the curriculum. Their videos spoke about teaching kids sexual acts, which is not true. It’s a non-argument.”
“No one is promoting anything in the lessons and no one is being forced to choose their sexuality. The lessons are a positive way for kids to understand the world around them. Just as my kids who aren’t religious learn about religion.”
In a separate interview with Capital East Midlands News, Mr Griffin-Young praised the reaction of his neighbours and fellow parents.
“I think what I’ve found so empowering about this is that the entire community has stood up for families like mine. You drive up the street and there are Pride flags billowing outside houses, it’s truly amazing,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of horns honking, we’ve had a lot of flags billowing out of cars.”
“The children are pretty supportive too. I noticed a lot of kids wearing rainbow colours.”
Nottingham Police have said they are continuing to monitor the situation outside Fernwood Primary School, while local MP Lillian Greenwood backed the parents fighting against the dinosaur intolerance that’s arrived on their doorstep.
The Labour MP for Nottingham South wrote on Facebook: “[Parents] should not be made to feel intimidated for wanting their children to be taught about respecting different people and different families, just as children should not be made to feel intimidated coming to school.”
Protests in Birmingham began in response to the No Outsiders programme created by Parkfield Community School teacher Andrew Moffat for his work to make the classroom a more inclusive place.
Speaking to NottinghamshireLive, Mandy Austin, executive head teacher at the school, said: “I’m proud of the positive reaction and support we’ve had from parents and the wider community in response to the planned protest outside our school.”
“We’ve worked closely with parents to make sure they feel involved and engaged in how we deliver relationships and sex education. All of the RSE lesson content is posted on our school website for parents to read and we hold an annual meeting to talk to parents about what we cover.”
Job done then.