More than 200 protesters organized the demonstration against Parkfield Community School in Birmingham over the school program called “No Outsiders” that includes teachings about homosexuality, including same-sex relationships and marriages, and challenges homophobia.
The organizers accused assistant head Andrew Moffatt, who is gay, of promoting LGBT rights against the wishes of the parents, who carried placards reading “Say no to sexualizing children” and “respect and be respected.”
Thursday’s protest came even as the school, where virtually every child has Muslim parents, reportedly suspended the curriculum in response to the outrage and protests. About 600 children were withdrawn from the school in a day as a result of the program, which also teaches about race, religion, gender identity, age and disabilities.
“Up to the end of this term, we will not be delivering any No Outsiders lessons in our long-term year curriculum plan, as this half term has already been blocked for religious education (RE),” the school said in a letter to parents, the Guardian reported. “Equality assemblies will continue as normal and our welcoming No Outsiders ethos will be there for all.”
The school denied that it caved to the protesters and said that the class on gay rights stopped at half-term as planned.
But the school admitted that before the return of the classes they will need to have a discussion with parents and teachers about it, according to the BBC.
Some parents during the protest spoke to the crowd through a megaphone, saying the lessons weren’t “age appropriate” and accused the school of violating not only children’s but also their religious beliefs, as Islam doesn’t approve homosexuality.
Protesters said they will continue to protest every week until the school nixes whole program.
According to a 2016 Channel 4 survey on attitudes of British Muslims, more than 50 percent of respondents said they don’t believe homosexuality should be legal in Britain, while 47 percent of respondents said that it’s not acceptable for a teacher to be gay.