A Christian mother who was fired for social media posts about transgenderism and sex education in her son’s primary school has won the right to appeal her case.
Kristie Higgs worked for seven years as a pastoral assistant at Farmor’s School, a secondary school in Fairford, Gloucestershire. The school fired her in January 2019 because of two Facebook posts. In one post, Higgs shared a nationwide petition that challenged the government’s plans to introduce an LGBT-oriented curriculum, Relationships and Sex Education, in primary schools, and asked the government to uphold the rights of parents to have their children educated in line with their religious beliefs. The second post shared an article that critiqued books promoting transgenderism that were being introduced at her son’s Church of England primary school.
An anonymous parent complained about the posts to the secondary school where Higgs worked. The school’s headmaster called Higgs into a meeting and suspended her, pending an investigation.
At the close of the investigation, authorities grilled Higgs for six hours about her views. According to the advocacy group Christian Concern, “When she tried to explain the context of her Christian beliefs, she was told: ‘Keep your religion out of it.’” Then, when the authorities concluded that Higgs should be fired, they said: “We concluded that no action was taken because of your religion. The disciplinary occurred for reasons other than your religion.”
She was fired for gross misconduct.
“It’s shocking to think that I’ve lost my job because of one parent who has complained to the school because they didn’t agree with what I shared on my Facebook page,” Higgs said in a video posted by Christian Concern shortly after her firing. “I haven’t done anything wrong. I haven’t treated any child any differently. Because I’m not against people, against children. I’m not against any LGBT person. I’m not homophobic. I’m none of those things. I’m just trying, as a parent, to help my child be taught what God says.”
With the help of the Christian Legal Centre, Higgs took her case to the Bristol Employment Tribunal, but the Tribunal ruled in October 2020 that her firing was justified.
But on July 13, a judge ruled that Higgs can appeal the Tribunal’s decision. In response, Higgs said: “I am delighted that the judge has granted us permission to appeal. 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 be able to share their opinions and beliefs without fear of losing their jobs.”
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