LGBTQ+ education: Haringey ‘won’t stand’ for protests outside of borough’s schools

Haringey councillors and staff march through the streets in support of LGBTQ+ rights. Picture: Harin

Haringey councillors and staff march through the streets in support of LGBTQ+ rights. Picture: Haringey Council - Credit: Archant

Haringey Council will take a tough line against any anti-LGTBQ+ education protests outside of its schools.

The town hall unanimously passed a motion declaring its support for an inclusive curriculum and stating it is prepared to obtain injunctions to block protesters if needed.

The council will, if necessary, obtain Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) or injunctions to prevent the "disruption of children's education and the intimidation of pupils, staff and parents".

It comes after religious activists have been campaigning against new sex and relationships education rules which make sure children are taught about LGBTQ+ people in primary school.

New guidelines make teaching about relationships compulsory for all primary schools, with sex education then compulsory at secondary level. The Department for Education says it "expects all pupils to have been taught LGBT+ content at a timely point".

This has triggered uproar in religious communities, most prominently in Birmingham - where two schools have seen protests for much of 2019. This move is a pre-emptive one designed to head off any copy-cat protests.

Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison (Crouch End, Lib Dem) proposed the motion. He said: "I don't want my daughter to grow up in a world where relationship education leaves her questioning her family unit because her school is unwilling to teach about same-sex couples. Or a world where she is fearful for her own safety, not just because of her own identity, but because of mine."

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Cllr Zena Brabazon (Harringay, Lab) backed the motion saying: "It's fitting we are discussing this because Alan Turing will be the face on our £50 notes."

She also recalled Haringey's fight against section 28, referring to the so-called "Haringey experiment", adding: "Our schools have a very proud tradition of educating young people inclusively."

Niranjan Kamatkar, the artistic director of Haringey LGBTQ+ charity Wise Thoughts praised the decision.

He said: "We welcome the council's stance on promoting diversity and community cohesion by working with local schools. It is important that children in schools need to feel safe and young LGBTQI+ people feel included to ensure best education practices."