In Brief

Parents banned from LGBT lesson protest outside school

Judge upholds exclusion zone around Birmingham school

Angry parents have been permanently banned from protesting against LGBT inclusive education outside their children’s school.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Warby ruled in favour of an exclusion zone remaining around Anderton Park in Birmingham, which has been the scene of protests for months.

During the demonstrations outside the school, in the Sparkhill area of the city, protesters, many of whom are Muslim faith, have gathered to chant “Let kids be kids” and wave placards with the slogan: “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

Birmingham city council launched the court action to block more protests outside the school after about 300 people gathered at the gates in May.

During the five-day case, the court heard that “untrue” and “harmful” allegations had been made about the school, including a visiting imam telling parents there were “paedophiles” inside the school.

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

Delivering his verdict, the judge said: “None of this is true.” His ruling has permanently banned protesters from gathering outside the school.

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

Dr Tim O’Neill, director of education and skills at the local council, also welcomed the verdict.

He said: “Protests of this kind only serve to attract fringe elements whose aim is to stoke division and hatred. We would therefore continue to encourage any concerned parents to engage with the school to have constructive discussions and address any issues.”

The general secretary of National Association of Head Teachers, said the verdict made it “abundantly clear” that the school gate was an inappropriate place to hold a protest.

The Department for Education said it wants to “encourage positive dialogue” between the two sides.

However, the lead protestor, Shakeel Afsar, who does not have children at the school, said he was “bitterly disappointed with the decision of the court”.

At a press conference after the verdict, he and the other protesters said they planned to appeal and vowed to continue to protest on the perimeter of the exclusion zone.

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