New injunction issued banning anti-LGBT protests from school gates

Protesters have accused the school of 'over-emphasising a gay ethos'

Monday, June 10, 2019

A judge has issued a fresh injunction against protesters demonstrating against LGBT relationship education at a primary school in Birmingham.

Headteacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson welcomed a judge's ruling on Monday which continues to ban protests from an exclusion zone surrounding Anderton Park Primary School.

She said: "We feel happy - very happy - we have this judgment."

Speaking after the judgment was handed down, the head also called for Labour to remove the whip from MP Roger Godsiff, in whose constituency the school falls, after he appeared on video telling protesters "you're right".

Calling his comments "quite discriminatory", she said: "Well, it has just created a sense of incredulity amongst people who live in his constituency, and further - more far reaching than that.

"How a Labour MP can say such things which appear to be the opposite of what we had to do.

"We have to tackle prejudice, we have to seek to eliminate discrimination and actually his comments seem to have fuelled discrimination and fuelled prejudice."

Headteacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson outside the court in Birmingham

Asked if he should lose the party whip, she replied: "Yes I do."

Mr Godsiff has also called on protesters to end their demonstrations and said he would continue working with the council and Department for Education to bring the campaigning to a close.

In a recent statement on his website, he said: "I very much regret that this conflict ever arose."

She was speaking after lawyers for the protesters brought a legal challenge against Birmingham City Council after the authority successfully applied for an interim injunction on May 31.

Some of the protesters speaking to press outside the court

Protesters have been campaigning against the teaching of certain aspects of relationship education in the school.

Mr Justice Warby QC, hearing the challenge at the High Court in Birmingham, quashed the original injunction but immediately imposed a fresh interim order, with varied conditions, which still bans protests outside the school's gates.

He said: "I find it likely the claimant (city council) will establish at trial some of the protesting has gone beyond lawful limits and strayed into harassing, alarming or distressing conduct, through it's persistence, timing and context."

Protesters brought the challenge after they were not given notice of the original interim injunction hearing in London.

A council barrister told Monday's hearing the "urgency" and "risk of further escalating conduct" had forced the local authority to act quickly - and not give the usual three days' notice that an injunction was being sought.

Protesters have claimed the school's teaching of particular relationship education materials is "over-emphasising a gay ethos".

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