Birmingham Council seeks to extend ban on school LGBT teaching protestors

Mothers peacefully protesting outside Anderton Park School in Birmingham. [Photo: Birmingham Mail]

Birmingham City Council is seeking a permanent exclusion zone around Anderton Park Primary School to halt anti-LGBT teaching protests at the school gates.

A temporary exclusion order was granted in May, and later extended in June, which halted gatherings in sight and sound of the primary school that “could disrupt pupils or intimidate staff.”

At a High Court hearing this week, the council is seeking to make that exclusion order permanent. They are arguing that the case is not about preventing lawful and legitimate protest and freedom of speech, but is about “unacceptable” behaviour.

The hearing, which began on Monday, has already heard from headteacher Sarah Hewitt Clarkson who confirmed that she gave permission for a group of LGBT supporters to tie ribbons and banners to the school gates for when school opened on Monday morning.

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson head teacher at Anderton Park School

“I thought it sounded a lovely thing to do. They were putting up hearts and messages of love not hate,” she said. “I did not see it as incendiary – there are gay people living all over Birmingham including on Dennis Road and it seemed a lovely thing to do.”

She also told the court: “I have seen they (the defendants) are not actually interested in consultation. I have seen signs saying Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. There are many things I’ve heard, many posted by the defendants, that I believe incite hatred.”

Under questioning, she confirmed that she would tell pupils I”t is okay to be gay” and that “some children have two mummies or two daddies.” However, she denied that the school was “promoting homosexual lifestyles.”

Meanwhile, protestors gathered outside the court, claiming the court action amounted to an attempt to gag free speech, and saying that if protestors are silenced tens of thousands of children in Birmingham will be sexualised early in life against their family norms.

They also made a last-ditch plea for donations to pay legal fees. Speaking before the court hearing, lead protestor Amir Ahmed, one of three individuals named in the exclusion order, said he was determined to press on with challenging the order despite a lack of money.

The hearing continues and is due to conclude on Friday.

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