A governor at a Church of England (CofE) primary school has quit, saying people are being ‘told what to think’.
Rev. John Parker claimed that when a child wanted to transition there were no policies in place to tell other parents beforehand and that it happened without question.
The head teacher had informed governors in March 2019 that a parent of the child wanted no prior information about the situation to be provided to other parents at the school until the day the child announced the transition. The school isn’t being named to protect the anonymity of the child.
The child then announced their transition to their class.
The vicar has raised concerns that there was little discussion about the implications of this or the school’s policy on gender toilets, changing rooms and accommodation on trips.
The child’s identity was not revealed to the governors and head teacher is said to have dismissed concerns from the governors, saying the Department for Education and the local Church of England diocesan education authority had advised that the school was obliged under equality laws to implement the policy.
Rev John Parker had previously left the Church of England for similar reasons.
In his resignation letter to the Bishop he wrote that he feared that children were being ‘sacrificed on the altar of trans ideology’.
He said of the school’s handling of the transition: “There wasn’t the opportunity for disagreement, we could communicate with parents, we couldn’t discuss this as governors, we couldn’t form procedures, we couldn’t consider any of the practical issues, we just had to go ahead as we were told”.
Audio of the training shows John asking the trainer from the lobby group Mermaids whether he can share a different viewpoint for the benefit of other staff, to which she replied: “No, I don’t think so John, I’m sorry, it’s training today, it’s not time to share your viewpoint.”
In a statement, Mermaids said: “The governor insisted on attending the session but did not challenge the points made during the talk. Only at the end did he make his comments.”
The local clergyman said he had safeguarding concerns and that governors were being ‘kept blind’ and ‘being told what to think’.
The trainer from the organisation said to the governors: “You are all now honourary Mermaids, whether you want to be or not.”
Before the child made the formal announcement to class mates, the children introduced two books: Big Bob, Little Bob, which tells the story of a boy dressing as a girl, and Red: A Crayon’s Story, telling the story of a red crayon wanting to be a blue crayon.
The trainer said: “You cannot use personal, religious or cultural beliefs to discriminate. You can have them of course you can, we live in a free country, but you cannot use that to discriminate against another minority.”
Rev Parker commented: “Throughout the training session there was an implicit threat to us that if we did not implement, enforce and fully affirm Mermaids ideology and affirm LGBTQI+ children, it would result in children committing suicide, self-harming, and police and Ofsted would enforce the policy.
“After the head told us about the plan to allow the pupil to transition, the school suddenly turned into a place where you did not even have the freedom to question or express a view. I felt it was no longer a Christian place of truth but a place of fear and intimidation. This was compounded at the Mermaids training session.
“Given the Christian ethos of the school, and the fact that a certain percentage of parents have sent their children to a CofE School because they sought for their children a Christian education in line with their own beliefs, the issue needed to be handled with those sensitivities in mind, and it has not been.
“There was no protocol set within the school for how this matter would be announced or handled. Many parents may well hold the view that sex and gender is fixed at birth and may wish to educate their children in line with those beliefs. Instead trans ideology was forced on their children as fact and without their knowledge.”