Christian parents accuse school of trans indoctrination
Christian parents have accused a Church of England school of secretly indoctrinating children with trans ideology.
Calvin and Nicola Watts, who are being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, have withdrawn their 8-year-old child from St Michael's Church of England primary school in Tenterden, Kent, over the resources being used in classes.
These are reported to include the book 'And Tango Makes Three' about a same-sex family, and a video called 'It feels good to be yourself: a book about gender identity', by Theresa Thorn and read by Nana Ceecee, which promotes the idea that people can be "both a boy and a girl", "neither a boy nor a girl", or "non- binary".
The Wattses wrote to the school to raise their concerns about the materials, which they claim amount to child abuse, and say that they were blocked from speaking to the teacher who had shown the video during a lesson on gender identity.
In response, Stuart Reeves, CEO of the Tenterden Schools Trust, admitted that the video "was not appropriate for all children" and could have been "confusing" for them.
He said that in future, lesson materials would be checked with the headteacher first before being used in classrooms.
However, he denied that gender fluidity was being promoted in schools and said that the resources complied with Department for Education and Church of England guidelines.
The Wattses have written to the CofE's chief education officer, Rev Nigel Genders, asking that the CofE school policy document, Valuing All God's Children, be rescinded and that he withdraw a recent statement in defence of the policy.
They said: "When we found out that extreme transgender ideology was being pushed on our 8-year-old without our consent, we were shocked and horrified.
"We felt very disrespected and betrayed as we had asked at the start of the year for our children not to be exposed to any LGBT ideology.
"When we met with the head teacher, we were made out to be 'unloving', which couldn't be further from the truth. Our primary concern is for the welfare of our children and their classmates after being exposed to such harmful material. Once we raised concern, the priority from the school, however, was to shut us down."
They added, "It is tragic that Christian parents can no longer send their children to CofE primary schools in confidence that they will not be exposed to extreme transgender ideology. The CofE appears to care more about politics than biblical truth.
"We urge the CofE hierarchy to urgently look into what has happened and to address how its own guidance is being used to defend the promotion of what we believe to be child abuse."
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: "The Nana Ceecee video that was shown to 8-year-olds was disturbing and utterly inappropriate.
"The Church of England must urgently respond to the serious issues raised by the family. It is unacceptable that children as young as eight should be exposed to such harmful material."
Responding to the claims, a spokesperson for the Church of England said: "Decisions on the teaching of Relationships Sex and Health Education, including the resources used, are the responsibility of the school's governing body in consultation with parents."
Stuart Reeves, CEO of the Tenterden Schools Trust said in a statement: "I have met with Mr and Mrs Watts to discuss their concerns in detail and have subsequently spoken with our teaching staff to better understand the decisions that were made in relation to the use of this particular resource.
"While I understand Mr and Mrs Watts' concerns, I have found no evidence whatsoever to suggest the promotion of any particular ideology in this school.
"While we would not expect parents to see or approve all of our teaching resources, we appreciate the need for greater transparency and clarity around certain topics and will endeavour to achieve this in future.
"We remain committed to creating a culture of openness and acceptance across our schools, where children feel free to express themselves and to ask questions in the knowledge that they will be supported and cared for."