• Monday, June 27, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Hate crimes in schools affected by protests against LGBT lessons increase

Protests outside a school in Birmingham (Pic credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

By: Keerthi Mohan

THERE has been an increase in the number of hate crimes in schools and colleges that have been affected by protests against LGBT lessons.

The number of hate crimes has increased by more than 50 per cent in just one year, reported The Independent.

Hate crime offences recorded by West Midlands police, involving children aged 17 and under in and near to schools and colleges, have risen by 52 per cent – from 44 in 2017-18 to 67 in 2018-19, the publication pointed out.

The figures come after Parkfield Community School and Anderton Park School in Birmingham witnessed widespread protests over its LGBT equality lessons.

Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, head of Anderton Park School believes the demonstrations at the Birmingham schools could have led to a rise in offences in the county.

During the nine weeks the school witnesses protests, demonstrators held banners saying “Adam and Eve. Not Adam and Steve” and said misogynistic things like “women were created for man’s pleasure”.

“It is just horrific but none of these things apparently pass the threshold for being arrestable,” Hewitt-Clarkson said. “I think it is time to look at what hate crime actually means.”

Besides a “homophobic” clip featuring the headteacher, anti-Islam material was also posted to Anderton Park Primary school.

Andrew Moffat, a gay teacher who has been at the centre of the row, said he has never experienced homophobia like he has in the last six months. He has been targeted both at school and online has was even subjected to a death threat.

Speaking to The Independent, Moffat said: “People are seeing that this is happening and they are not seeing a strong, robust response from the Department for Education or from anyone in fact.

“I am really concerned that there is a culture developing where hate crime is becoming acceptable.”

Saima Razzaq, from an LGBT+ group set up following the protests, has urged the government to empower teachers in the face of these protests.

Razzaq said: “I urge Gavin Williamson to act on the failures of his predecessor. The government need to be stronger in their guidance for teachers – there is too much pressure on teachers to deliver an equality strategy with so many grey areas – we need to empower teachers.”

Eastern Eye

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