Fri, 19 April 2024

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By Bishop of Leeds
Press releases

Labour MP Wes Streeting demands crackdown on 'aggressive' school protesters angry at LGBT teaching

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

A prominent Labour MP will today urge the Government to crack down on “aggressive activists” who protest against LGBT relationship education at school gates.

Wes Streeting will argue parents and children should not be “forced to run the gauntlet against a barrage of homophobic barracking, placards or literature”.

The MP for Ilford North, who is gay, will also hit out at the Department for Education for faililng to provide better guidance for teachers on sex and relationship education.

Parents have staged protests outside primary schools in Birmingham against lessons incorporating same-sex relationsihps, with some removing their kids from the classes.

A High Court was forced to ban protests outside one school, the Anderton Park Primary School, after the council decided the risk to children from angry demonstrators had become “too serious to tolerate”.

The injunction remains in place until 10 June, when protest leaders will get to make their case to a judge.

But addressing an LGBT conference of Labour activists today, Mr Streeting will argue it is "unacceptable" for the council to be locked in a legal battle about keeping the children safe. 

“It is time for the Government to show some leadership by giving head teachers, governors and local authorities the simple and enforceable powers they need to keep children safe in the immediate vicinity of their schools,” he will declare.

He will add: “Children, parents and staff should not be forced to run the gauntlet against a barrage of homophobic barracking, placards or literature.

“There is always a place for peaceful protest in a democratic society, but that place is not school gates."

Fresh LGBT, sex and relationship education regulations have been passed through Parliament and will come into force in September 2020, but teachers have complained that existing guidance is too vague.

Mr Streeting will say Tory ministers are “passing the buck to teachers” by failing to issue clearer guidance.

He will add that current standards are leaving head teachers “in the firing line against a small, but vocal and aggressive, group of activists who are turning playgrounds into battlegrounds”.

Yesterday, West Midlands mayor Andy Street, who is also gay, said the protests were “homophobic” and must “stop now”.

He also called on the Department for Education to produce clearer guidance in the hope that parents can be better informed about what their kids are being taught.

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