Employment tribunal hears appeal of Christian teaching assisted sacked over Facebook posts

Kristie Higgs.(Photo: Christian Legal Centre)

An employment tribunal will this week hear the appeal of a Christian teaching assisted sacked after sharing two Facebook posts that raised concerns about the teaching of transgenderism and sex education in her son's Church of England primary school. 

Kristie Higgs was sacked for gross misconduct by Fairford school, Gloucestershire, in 2019 after a complaint was made about her Facebook posts. 

In the posts, shared to her personal Facebook account under her maiden name, Mrs Higgs asked friends and family to sign a petition challenging the government's plans to introduce Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) to primary schools.

In the second post, she shared an article about the rise of transgender ideology in children's books in American schools and captioned the post: "This is happening in our primary schools now."

In October 2020, a judge ruled that the school was justified in sacking Mrs Higgs because even though her posts were not "homophobic" or "transphobic", other people could perceive them to be so. 

Mrs Higgs is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) in her challenge against the previous judgment.

Speaking ahead of the two-day hearing this week, she said, "I am relieved that the opportunity to appeal is here. Over four years on I am continuing to fight for justice. In that time there has been so many disturbing revelations about transgender ideology in schools and children being taught inappropriate sex education.

"Sometimes I still have to pinch myself to believe that I lost the job I loved because of my Christian beliefs.

"I shared these posts as a mother who was deeply concerned about the compulsory sex education being forced on my 9-year-old son at a Church of England primary school. These views were compared to that of a 'pro-Nazi right wing extremist', which is highly offensive to me and millions of Christians across the world.

"I have to continue to fight for justice so that no one else has to go through what I have. 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. Christians must also to be able to share their opinions and beliefs without fear of losing their jobs."

CLC chief executive Andrea Williams said: "The previous judgment in this case should concern all of us who care about the freedom to be a Christian believer in the UK.

"Kristie was dismissed, not for the posts she made, but for a deliberately distorted and unkind interpretation of the content that she linked to.

"Even though her post was private to her family and friends she is being held responsible for what others might do with it.

"It is clear no actual harm has come to the school's reputation as a result of her posts, but that she has been sacked as if it had. The posts were not even in relation to the secondary school but about the books being read in her son's primary school.

"We stand with Kristie as she continues to seek justice this week."