Clashes outside primary school over same-sex relationship lessons

22 July 2019, 22:04 | Updated: 23 July 2019, 02:34

Protesters who don't want children taught about same-sex relationships have clashed with parents outside a primary school in Nottingham.

Parents and pupils arrived at Fernwood Primary School in Wollaton with rainbow symbols on their clothing and waved flags in support of the school's teaching on equality.

Brett Griffin-Young was among those opposing the protest. He is a gay father of two children at the school.

He said: "I have no idea, honestly no idea why they've chosen this school.

"But they picked the wrong school. I think it's actually backfired a bit on them because it's been used as a teaching opportunity.

"All of the kids are now very aware of LGBT issues."

Protest organiser Ayaz Ahmed describes himself as a community representative but has no children at the school.

He recently posted a video on social media explaining why he believes people should protest against relationships education.

Addressing the camera, he says: "You think you can sit quietly in your Masjids whilst our whole home is being destroyed. I don't think so.

"This is everybody's problem and I'm telling you now we're going to keep on campaigning and everybody will be held to account for the destruction of lives of children in this city and that's what this is about.

"It's not about saying it's only about two mummies and two daddies because that is sexualisation because your kids will ask how is it two daddies?"

Today he insisted "it's not against the LGBT community, it's about sexualisation".

But he was challenged by parents, including one father who told him "it's called education, not sexualisation".

Another mother told him to take his protest away from the school, shouting: "Stop terrorising our children."

Fewer than 30 people joined the protest, including Amir Ahmed - who is one of the main organisers of similar protests outside two primary schools in Birmingham.

Like Mr Ahmed, most had no connection to the school.

One man, who did not want to give his full name, said he did have children at the school.

"I believe it is parents' decisions when they should be taught and parents are the best mediators of the education when it comes to sexuality and relationships," he said.

The government's decision to make relationships education compulsory in all primary schools from September 2020 has angered some religious groups.

But at Fernwood Primary School, a group of parents were joined by pro-LGBT campaigners and they insisted they are happy with what their children are being taught.

Speaking on behalf of the school, Councillor David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, said: "Nottingham is a diverse city that celebrates equality, inclusivity and respect - we are proud of that fact.

"While we would always respect anyone's right to protest, this was a demonstration we opposed from the outset because it was close to a school.

"It appeared that the protesters this morning had no direct link with Fernwood, but parents from the school who support the teaching of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) held a counter protest which was twice the size.

"I'm pleased that the overwhelming majority of people were calm and respectful of each other.

"It was helpful that the group agreed to change their arrangements so that it didn't impact on children making their way into school this morning.

"We reiterate that it is important to have a positive conversation with children and young people about healthy, respectful and safe relationships."