LGBT teaching row: Birmingham primary school protests permanently banned – BBC News, Google News


                                 Protesters hold signs and placards during their first demonstration after an injunction barred action immediately outside Anderton Park Primary SchoolImage copyright                 PA Media                                                      
Image caption                                    Protests have continued outside an exclusion zone at Anderton Park Primary School                             

Demonstrations against LGBT inclusive education have been permanently banned outside a primary school.

A High Court judge ruled in favor of an exclusion zone to remain around Anderton Park in Birmingham which has been targeted by protesters for months.

The protests had an averse affect on pupils, residents and staff, leading to 21 teachers being treated for stress, Mr Justice Warby said.

Campaigners accused the city council of trying to silence debate.

                                                                                                      Image copyright                 PA Media                                                      
Image caption                                    Protestors were banned from the school gates in June                             

The protests at the school in Balsall Heath aimed to stop LGBT relationships education, with many parents and activists claiming it contradicts their Islamic faith and is not “age appropriate”.

October’s five-day hearing at the city’s Priory Courts heard there were further “untrue” and “harmful” allegations made about the school on social media, and how a visiting imam had claimed to parents there were “paedophiles” inside the school.

Other claims included that the school had a “paedophile agenda” and staff were “teaching children how to masturbate”.

“None of this is true,” Mr Warby said as he handed down the ban at Birmingham Civil Justice Center.

“None of the defendants have suggested it was true and the council has proved it is not true.”

The lessons had been “misrepresented by parents,” he said, adding the school does not promote homosexuality and seeks to weave the language of equality into everyday school life.

                                                                                                      Image copyright                 PA Media                                                      
Image caption                                    Amir Ahmed, Shakeel Afsar and Rosina Afsar were named in the first High Court injunction                             

Since June protesters have gathered just outside the exclusion zone.

In the hearing last month, the city council argued an interim injunctionshould be extended beyond school gates and made permanent.

Birmingham City Council said the noisy protests at the school gates were disrupting lessons and meant children were unable to use the playground.

The council maintained the court action was in response to campaigners’ behavior, not the issue of the protests.

Image caption                                    Head teacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson said staff would be “over the moon”                             

The prior injunction named lead protester Shakeel Afsar, who does not have children at the school , his sister Rosina, and Amir Ahmed, all of whom contested the need for a legal injunction.

Mr Justice Warby directed that the three named defendants should be liable to 80% of those costs, which the court heard have yet to be calculated.

The judge said the reason the award was not in full was because part of the council’s claim – for an injunction on the making of abusive social media posts against teachers – had been unsuccessful.

                                                                                                      Image copyright                 PA Media                                                      
Image caption                                    Teaching at the school had been “grossly misrepresented,” Mr Warby said                             

Speaking after the ruling, head teacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson said staff would be “over the moon “.

” We knew it was misrepresented and that was the frustration when you are trying to go about your daily business as educators and when people say things about you that are not true, that is very difficult, “she said

” It has been awful, but my staff are unbelievable and parents are unbelievable and the children of Anderton Park are incredible human beings and we are a strong school and every single person is part of that strength. “


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Media captionWhat is in the books that Parkfield parents are protesting about?

Birmingham City Council said it was “really pleased” with Mr Warby’s decision.

“This was always about protecting the school and community from the escalating levels of anti-social behavior of the protests, “Dr Tim O’Neill, the council’s director of education and skills, said.

” Birmingham is diverse and inclusive – these are its strengths – and we must all come together to ensure all children get the best education possible. “

He said” fringe elements “had been attracted to the protests with the aim of” stoking division and hatred “.

                                                                                                      Image copyright                 PA Media                                                      
Image caption                                    Shakeel Afsar insisted the demonstrations were “peaceful”                             

A Christian campaigner, John Allman, from Okehampton in Devon, had also opposed the exclusion zone, claiming it limited public protest.

Meanwhile, Mr Afsar had claimed the weekly protests were “peaceful” despite the use of megaphones and a sound-boosting PA system.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), which has supported the school, welcomed an end to the “noisy and aggressive protests”.

“This judgement makes it abundantly clear that the school gate is no place to hold a protest, “a spokesperson said.

It was also welcomed by the Department for Education,which has previously faced criticism for a perceived lack of support for the school, but said it wants to “encourage positive dialogue”.


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