A devout Christian mother was banned from her four-year-old son’s school after complaining that he was compelled to take part in an LGBT pride parade, a court heard.
Izzy Montague, 38, said she was told by the headteacher of Heavers Farm Primary School in South Norwood, southeast London, that her son could not opt out of the event in June 2018.
The school sent a letter to parents on June 19 inviting them to partake in a Pride march and ‘celebrate the differences that make them and their family special’.
Mrs Montague contacted the school ‘and asked for her son to be excused attendance on June 29 as they were concerned about him being involved of a public display of adherence to views which she did not accept’.
Her request was refused by the headteacher Susan Papas, Central London County Court has heard.
Izzy Montague (pictured), 38, said she was told by the headteacher that her son could not opt out of the LGBT pride event in June 2018
Giving evidence Ms Papas said the mother was banned from the school because staff ‘did not feel safe around her’.
Ms Papas told the hearing the aim of the parade was ‘to pull everything together, to have a happy cheerful event at the end of the year.
‘Where we could bring everyone together and say they were proud of what they had learnt and reflect on topics we’ve covered over the year, bringing everyone together with everyone’s families.’
Ian Clarke, representing the school, asked the headteacher: ‘What was the purpose behind the teaching of the home in reception?
Ms Papas replied: ‘The teaching in reception was simply to know there were different kinds of families in the class and other families existed in the world.’
Judge Christopher Lethem said: ‘So, no hierarchy of equalities?’
Ms Papas said: ‘In reception level it was just how they could all feel comfortable that other families exist or if their family didn’t look like the others, that’s ok.’
Mr Clarke asked: ‘Who do you mean by they?’
Heavers Farm Primary School (pictured) in South Norwood, southeast London, sent a letter to parents on 19 June inviting them to partake in a Pride march
Ms Papas: ‘The children. So, from the point of view of the children, no matter what their family may look like they feel comfortable and ok that it’s acceptable as a family.’
Mrs Montague has claimed the school ‘picked on’ their son and teachers gave him a three-hour detention after she made the complaint.
She was banned from the school after a series of concerns surrounding her behaviour towards staff, the court heard.
‘What were you trying to achieve in banning Mrs Montague from the school?’ asked Mr Clarke.
Ms Papas said: ‘I was trying to support members of staff who said they did not feel safe around her.
‘I hesitated around it, and I discussed it with the Chair of Governors, Graham Cluer (corr), I didn’t want to make the situation worse.
‘The Chair of Governors, he reminded me of my duty to look after the staff because staff were complaining saying they felt very unsafe around her, I had to take action.’
Michael Phillips, representing Mrs Montague, asked Ms Papas: ‘Do you accept the fact my client is someone who does speak louder than average?’
‘Yes, she does speak louder than average, but lots of parents speak louder than average, lots of staff speak louder than average’ replied Ms Papas.
Mrs Montague previously sparked controversy on ITV’s Good Morning Britain after telling a gay father his sexuality ‘is a choice’ during debate on LGBT lessons in schools
‘So, this could just be how Mrs Montague speaks?’ Mr Phillips
‘I don’t accept that… the member of staff who was at the school when she called in said [Ms Montague] was intimidating and threatful.’
‘Ms Montague was seeking further information and an explanation of what was happening in this period would you agree with that?’ asked Mr Phillips.
‘Yes,’ replied Ms Papas.
‘That she was protesting about how her son was not given class work to do [during his detention] and that breached the behaviour policy and that her son was discriminated against due to her behaviour, do you accept that?’ Mr Phillips said
‘No… He was given classwork to do, he wasn’t discriminated against,’ Ms Papas replied.
‘You’re dealing with a parent who thinks it was possible their child is being [unfairly treated] is it possible that what you are seeing is a reaction and you should not take it personally,’ Mr Phillips said.
‘It wasn’t me who was taking it personally,’ replied Ms Papas.
‘All she wanted she wanted was transparency in a timely manner,’ said Mr Phillips.
‘She had the information about what had happened and then I suggested she sat down with her son’s class teacher, and they spoke about what had happened’ replied the headteacher.
Mrs Montague’s husband, Shane Montague, previously told the court he did not think it was ‘the school’s job’ to teach children about same sex families.
Mrs Montague has previously appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, where she sparked controversy after telling a gay father his sexuality ‘is a choice’ during debate on LGBT lessons in schools.
Mrs Montague, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, launched legal action against the school on the grounds of direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation and breach of statutory duty under the Education Act 1996 and the Human Rights Act 1998.
It is the first time that a UK court will scrutinise the legality of imposing LGBT ideology in primary schools.
The hearing continues.
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