Parents face court action for removing children from Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender history lessons
Parents face possible court action for withdrawing their children from lessons on gay and lesbian history.
More than 30 pupils were pulled out of a week of teaching at a primary school which included books about homosexual partnerships.
themes linked to its Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender History Month
The council has declared that children who missed the lessons will be viewed as truants.
The ruling means some families could breach rules that children should not be absent for more than 19 days a year.
Sanctions include spot fines, parenting contracts and ultimately court action.
The parents, who objected to the lessons on moral and religious grounds,
Pervez Latif, whose children Saleh, ten, and Abdur-Rahim, nine, attend the school, said he knew of up to 30 withdrawals from the lessons.
The 41-year-old accountant said
‘We as parents did not receive any guidance that this was going to happen,’ he added. ‘There was just a newsletter mentioning the week and that certain themes would be taught.
‘I didn’t want my children to be learning about this. I wrote a letter to the chairman of the governors explaining that I would be taking my children out of school and he wrote back saying that there was no other option.
‘If I am faced with court action, then I will just explain that these are my views. It was also very difficult explaining to my nine- and ten-year-old boys why they were being removed from school.
One story covered in a lesson was King and King, a fairytale about a prince who turns down three princesses before falling in love with one of their brothers.
Another book, And Tango Makes Three, features two male penguins, Roy and Silo, who fall in love at a New York zoo.
Sarah Saeed, 40, took her eight-year-old daughter out of school during the week.
She said: ‘It is not an appropriate age for the children to be learning such matters. We have our own way of explaining things to them and they should not be subjected to this.
Parents have a legal right to withdraw their children from religious education and sex education lessons – apart from science lessons which cover biological reproduction as part of the national curriculum.
A spokesman for Waltham Forest Council said: ‘[…] The council does not condone any unauthorised absence from school and action has been taken.’
Norman Wells, director of the Family Education Trust, said: ‘It is a fundamental principle of education law that children must be educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents.
‘It is outrageous for a school or local authority to think it can ride roughshod over parents […]
‘The only action that needs to be taken is to offer an apology to the parents concerned.’
George Tomlinson is close to a school which launched a gay version of Romeo and Juliet called Romeo and Julian – also to mark the alternative history month.