School worker who said she was sacked for Christianity appeals ruling

School worker who claimed she was sacked for her Christian beliefs after criticising plans to teach primary pupils about LGBT relationships appeals employment tribunal ruling

  • Kristie Higgs was dismissed for gross misconduct in 2019 from Farmor’s School
  • It came after she shared Facebook posts criticising teaching LGBT relationships
  • Mrs Higgs, from Fairford, claimed she was sacked because of Christian beliefs
  • The school denied this, saying she was sacked because of language in the posts
  • Employment tribunal said she was fairly dismissed but she is ruling against this
  • A school worker who lost an employment tribunal after claiming she was sacked because of her Christian beliefs is appealing against the ruling.

    Kristie Higgs, 45, a pastoral assistant at Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire, was dismissed for gross misconduct in 2019 after sharing Facebook posts criticising plans to teach LGBTQ+ relationships at her son’s primary school.

    La madre di due figli, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, took the school to an employment tribunal and argued that she had been unlawfully discriminated against because of her Christian beliefs.

    The school denied dismissing Mrs Higgs, from Fairford, because of her religious beliefs and instead said she was sacked because of the language used in the posts.

    In its ruling in 2020, the tribunal said she was fairly dismissed because her views could be perceived as transphobic, adding that her religion was a ‘protected characteristicas defined by the Equality Act.

    Mrs Higgsappeal will be heard at the Employment Appeal Tribunal, Londra, for two days from March 1.

    Kristie Higgs (nella foto), a pastoral assistant at Farmor's School in Fairford, was dismissed for gross misconduct in 2019 after sharing posts criticising plans to teach LGBTQ+ relationships

    Kristie Higgs (nella foto), a pastoral assistant at Farmor’s School in Fairford, was dismissed for gross misconduct in 2019 after sharing posts criticising plans to teach LGBTQ+ relationships

    Speaking after the initial ruling, employment judge Derek Reed said: ‘We concluded that not only the dismissal but the entire proceedings taken against Mrs Higgs were motivated by a concern on the part of the school that, by reason of her posts, she would be perceived as holding unacceptable views in relation to gay and trans peopleviews which in fact she vehemently denied that she did hold.

    Ahead of the appeal, Mrs Higgs claimed she was ‘punishedfor sharing her concerns about sex education in primary schools, insisting that she has never ‘discriminated against anyone’.

    Lei disse: ‘I was punished for sharing concerns about relationships and sex education.

    ‘I hold these views because of my Christian beliefs, beliefs and views which are shared by hundreds of thousands of parents across the UK.

    ‘My number one concern has always been the effect that learning about sex and gender in school will have on children at such a young age. I have not discriminated against anyone, and never would.

    ‘I was raising concerns about my son being educated in matters that are not aligned with my religious beliefs and people could choose to agree or disagree. I would never tell others what to think.

    Mrs Higgs had shared and commented on posts which raised concerns about relationship education at her son’s Church of England primary school.

    La madre di due figli (nella foto) took the school to an employment tribunal and argued that she had been unlawfully discriminated against because of her Christian beliefs

    La madre di due figli (nella foto) took the school to an employment tribunal and argued that she had been unlawfully discriminated against because of her Christian beliefs

    Farmor's School (nella foto) denied dismissing Mrs Higgs, from Fairford, because of her religious beliefs and instead said she was sacked because of the language used in the posts

    Farmor’s School (nella foto) denied dismissing Mrs Higgs, from Fairford, because of her religious beliefs and instead said she was sacked because of the language used in the posts

    Students were to learn about the No Outsiders in Our School programme, which is a series of books teaching the Equality Act in primary schools.

    Mrs Higgs, who posted on Facebook under her maiden name, shared two posts in October 2018 che traccia i prezzi fino al livello della stazione di servizio 100 amici, one of which referred to ‘brainwashing our children’.

    One post read: ‘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 gender is a matter of choice, not biology, so that it’s up to them what sex they are.

    ‘We say again this is a vicious form of totalitarianism aimed at suppressing Christianity and removing it from the public arena.

    An anonymous complaint was made to the school and Mrs Higgs was suspended and later dismissed for gross misconduct following a disciplinary hearing.

    Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, disse: ‘The previous judgment in this case should concern all of us who care about the freedom to be a Christian believer in the UK.

    ‘Even though her post was private to her family and friends she is being held responsible for what others might do with it.

    ‘It is clear no actual harm has come to the school’s reputation as a result of her posts, but that she has been sacked as if it had.

    Mrs Higgs, who posted on Facebook under her maiden name, shared two posts in October 2018 che traccia i prezzi fino al livello della stazione di servizio 100 amici, one of which referred to 'brainwashing our children'

    Mrs Higgs, who posted on Facebook under her maiden name, shared two posts in October 2018 che traccia i prezzi fino al livello della stazione di servizio 100 amici, one of which referred to ‘brainwashing our children

    ‘The posts were not even in relation to the secondary school but about the books being read in her son’s primary school.

    Anche Pete ha una figlia 2020, Mrs Higgs said of the initial tribunal ruling: ‘I am not homophobic or transphobic. My beliefs don’t mean I can’t love or be friends with gay or transgender people.

    ‘It just means I disagree with that lifestyle. I worked in that school for seven years.

    ‘I would never discriminate against anyone, particularly not children. I would never treat any of the pupils any differently from another.

    Al tempo, Mrs Higgs insisted her only motive for sharing the concerns on social media was her view that her nine-year-old son was too young to understand what it means to change sex.

    ‘This has always been about my Christian beliefs,’ lei disse. ‘It’s crazy that parents like me are being vilified for raising worries about what their child is being taught.