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London, England, Jun 20, 2023 / 09:15 am (CNA).
A Christian mother of two who was fired from her role as a school pastoral assistant for social media posts concerning sex education has won a legal appeal against the school’s decision.
Kristie Higgs had worked at the Church of England Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire, for six years when an anonymous complaint about her posts on Facebook in October 2018 led to her being suspended and eventually fired for “gross misconduct” the following January.
In October 2020, the Bristol Employment Tribunal ruled that Higgs had not suffered discrimination or harassment; however, on Friday, June 16, the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that the case should be reconsidered.
The president of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, Dame Jennifer Eady, supported Higgs’ appeal against the decision, saying: “The freedom to manifest belief (religious or otherwise) and to express views relating to that belief are essential rights in any democracy, whether or not the belief in question is popular or mainstream and even if its expression may offend.”
Eady said that the judges had not assessed, as they were required by law, whether the investigation and dismissal of Higgs “were prescribed by law and were necessary for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others, recognizing the essential nature of [Higgs’] rights to freedom of belief and freedom of expression.”
Reacting to the verdict on Friday, Higgs said: “From the beginning, despite the many attempts by the school to suggest otherwise, this has always been about my Christian beliefs and me being discriminated against for expressing them in my own time.”
Screenshots of two posts on Higgs’ personal Facebook page were submitted to the school in the fall of 2018.
The first post by Higgs involved her sharing a protest petition about a government consultation into “making relationships education mandatory in primary schools, and relationships and sex education mandatory in secondary schools closes.” The post stated that this “means, for example, that children will be taught that all relationships are equally valid and ‘normal,’ so that same-sex marriage is exactly the same as traditional marriage and that gender is a matter of choice, not biology, so that it’s up to them what sex they are.”
The second post was another “share” that referred to concerns about educational materials in the U.S., which stated: “Kindergarten and first grade children are being primed for a gender fluid society. Of course, the schools are introducing the propaganda in the name of anti-bullying campaigns, but we know better.”
Higgs shared the posts after learning that the school where she worked and where her child attended planned to introduce children to books promoting transgenderism, sponsored by the No Outsiders Campaign.
The No Outsiders website states that its main aim is “preparing children for life in modern Britain.”