LONDON (ChurchMilitant.com) - A mother of school-aged children has filed a legal challenge to a school for forcing her child to participate in gay pride events without her consent.
On Wednesday, Izzy Montague filed a civil complaint with the County Court against Havens Farm Primary School in South East London for violating her parental rights, victimization and harassment. She is one of a group of parents that challenged the school over forcing their children to take part in gay pride celebrations.
In June 2018, coinciding with gay pride month, Havers Farm Primary School scheduled a "Proud to be Me!" march that parents were allowed to participate in. Several parents, including Montague, argued against the event and intended to protest it.
As a result, Havers Farm School canceled the march and then scheduled a smaller event that parents were not allowed to attend. The school refused to allow parents to "opt-out" their children and were told it was for the "spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development" of the students and not part of the personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.
An Evening Standard report from July noted several parents kept their children at home that day. One parent said there were dozens of parents that were upset by the event and waited outside the school office for a meeting. She said, "I want to be able to educate my child on these things."
She said they were planning to write the member of Parliament (MP) to complain about the event, but he ended up speaking at the event.
"So where can we go?" she asked.
When a user replied, "Aren't primary school kids a bit young to be taught about sexuality, gender neutrality & all that stuff?" Reed responded, "It wasn't about that, they were just learning to be proud of whoever they are. There are LGBT parents with kids at the school and they deserve respect too."
To file her complaint, Montague had the support of Christian Legal Centre, a sister organization to Christian Concern, a British advocacy group striving to be a "strong Christian voice in the public square."
Andrea Williams, the chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said in a press release issued on Friday, "The treatment of parents at Heavers Farm Primary School represents one of the most chilling breaches of parental rights I have ever seen in my many years of working on educational issues."
"Education is always a partnership between the school and parents, but the school's actions show disrespect, dismissiveness and hostility towards these parents," Williams added. "A particular agenda is being forced onto children inside the school gates and parents are being given no means to ensure that their children are being taught in line with their religious and philosophical beliefs."
Montague and other parents claim the school is forcing a "very aggressive LGBT agenda onto children" that overrides parental rights and victimizes the parents. Several of the parents are refusing to come forward publicly over fears their children will be victimized or expelled.
The "Proud to be Me!" event is not the only time the gay agenda has been pushed on the students. Montague noted the school has posters celebrating the Stonewall riots and on the school's website; they equated the civil rights work of Martin Luther King Jr. to transgenders using the bathrooms of their choice.
After she complained, Montague was sent a letter from the school promising to investigate. She contacted the school again in early September, but didn't hear back until a governor's meeting in mid-September where parents were told the "Proud to be Me!" event was purely about tolerance.
Following that meeting, Montague met with Susan Papas, the executive headteacher for Havers Farm. Papas' daughter, who also works at the school, attended the meeting and wore a T-shirt that said, "Why be racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic when you could just be quiet?"
Papas told the Evening Standard in 2018, "Some parents have taken exception to this. They feel the school is shoving LGBT issues down' the kids' throats. This takes us back decades."
Contradicting what parents were told at the governor's meeting, Papas said, "We thought we would celebrate Pride month so those children from LGBT families would feel included and to show the kids that children come from different families."
Montague said, "After I complained about my young child being forced to take place in an event that goes against our Christian beliefs, the school's attitude towards me changed completely."
"It was like being bullied," she added. "They stopped treating me like any other parent but were antagonistic toward me."
Montague's son was given two detentions, and when she came to discuss those punishments, she was barred from the building.
"I believe they retaliated against me by unreasonably excluding me from the premises, victimizing my child and not taking my safeguarding concerns seriously," Montague said.
"I wasn't even trying to stop the Pride event. I just wanted my child to receive an education, rather than indoctrination," she clarified.
Williams said this was another example of "totalitolerance," explaining that "those who preach tolerance and diversity the loudest do not appear to be interested in practicing it."
Montague pulled her son from Havers Farm Primary School but she contacted Damian Hinds, the secretary of state for education, requesting that he "use his authority to remedy the pervasive nature of LGBT proselytism within Havers Farm Primary School."
Montague is hoping that Hinds will bring the issue to a national level so it is clear that schools are forbidden from forcing "controversial moral and political views onto children under the dubious cover of their equality duty."
A spokesman for Christian Legal Centre said Hinds has powers pursuant to the Education Act of 1996 "to remedy the treatment of Mrs. Montague and to forbid further proselytism on LGBT issues if he so chooses. If his decision is in the negative it can be judicially reviewed by the High Court upon Mrs Montague's motion to do so."