Trey Paul, FISM News
A woman in the U.K. is fighting to get her job back after a Church of England primary school allegedly fired her for sharing her concerns over teaching young kids about transgenderism on her private Facebook page.
Kristie Higgs, 46, served as a pastoral assistant at the church in 2019 and, according to the London-based Christian Legal Centre (Christian Concern via Twitter), was fired after sharing a petition that objected to the Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum in primary schools. The Christian mother of two also said she shared an article that opposed books being used to teach children about transgender behavior and gender fluidity.
Higgs appealed her termination and last week that appeal was finally heard before an employment tribunal after two members were recused for perceived bias. “I am relieved that the opportunity to appeal is here. Over four years on I am continuing to fight for justice,” she said during an interview with the BBC.
"I am relieved that the opportunity to appeal is here. Over four years on I am continuing to fight for justice."
Kristie Higgs tells the BBC why she is continuing to fight for justice as she appeals sacking over Facebook posts. https://t.co/pZlvB3XuiK
— Christian Concern (@CConcern) March 14, 2023
The ordeal began when an anonymous complaint was made to the school about Higgs’ Facebook posts. Higgs says she was first suspended and warned that those posts could “bring the school into disrepute.” She says she was later fired for gross misconduct.
Higgs says she then took the school to an employment tribunal and explained that she had been unlawfully discriminated against because of her Christian beliefs. School leaders denied dismissing her because of her religious views and claimed she was let go because of language used in the posts.
“I shared these posts as a mother who was deeply concerned about the compulsory sex education being forced on my nine-year-old son at a Church of England primary school,” Higgs said. “I want parents to have the freedom to bring their children up in line with their Christian beliefs, I want young children to be protected from this harmful ideology.”
A ruling was made in 2020 and the employment judge said Higgs’ dismissal “was the result of a genuine belief on the part of the school that she had committed gross misconduct.”
RECUSING MEMBERS FOR BIAS
Then last week in what the Christian Legal Centre said was a “highly unusual, if not unprecedented move,” the President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal was forced to recuse two lay panel members for “perceived bias on transgenderism and extreme sex education.”
Higgs’ attorneys petitioned the tribunal to recuse Andrew Morris last Thursday. Morris served as the general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU). The attorneys argued during his time he “consistently” encouraged “teaching primary school children about same-sex relationships and transgenderism.”
“A reasonable bystander might have reasonable cause for concern that the lay member has been for some time living and working within an institution which has adopted very forcefully a particular set of ideas and has made those ideas very much the forefront of its work,” Higgs’ attorney, Richard O’Dair, said in court.
That is precisely the context in which unconscious bias takes root. If one lives and works and breathes a particular set of ideas in working life it is very difficult to step outside them, and that is the difficulty the lay member faces in this case.
The judge had previously recused a prominent LGBT activist from the panel last July and ruled that she was “satisfied that if the lay member were to sit on the Employment Appeal Tribunal panel on this appeal, the fair-minded informed observer could not exclude the possibility of bias.”
Also last week, the government launched an urgent review into sex education in the UK schools after it was revealed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was alarmed about government guidance that started in 2019, the year of Higgs’ dismissal. That guidance was endorsed by the LGBT charity Stonewall.