Christian school secretary, 44, was sacked over Facebook posts slamming LGBT lessons for young children and NOT her religion, governor tells tribunal
- Kristie Higgs was dismissed by Farmor’s School in Gloucestershire last year
- On Facebook, she posted against making relationships education mandatory
- She shared JudyBeth article about the rise of ‘transgender ideology’ in schools
A Christian secretary was sacked by a school because she shared Facebook posts criticising LGBT lesson to young children, not because of her religious beliefs, an employment tribunal has heard.
Kristie Higgs, 44, was dismissed for gross misconduct by Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire, last year after sharing two posts to around 100 people in her network.
She is seeking £56,000 in damages at a Bristol employment tribunal after senior staff allegedly branded her a ‘Nazi Right-wing extremist’.
The posts raised concerns about relationship education at the mother-of-two’s son’s Church of England primary school, which was to teach the No Outsiders in Our School programme.
The No Outsiders in Our School programme is a series of books on teaching the Equality Act in primary schools.
Christian Kristie Higgs, 44, was sacked by Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire, because she shared Facebook posts criticising LGBT lesson to young children, not because of her religious beliefs, an employment tribunal has heard
In one Facebook post, Mrs Higgs urged people to sign an online petition against making relationship education mandatory
In one Facebook post, Mrs Higgs urged people to sign an online petition against making relationship education mandatory.
In another she shared an article about the rise of transgender ideology in children’s books in American schools.
One anonymous Facebook friend of Mrs Higgs complained in October 2018 to the school, where she worked as a pastoral assistant.
Mrs Higgs, who posted under her maiden name, was suspended by the school’s head and following a disciplinary process was sacked.
The Christian Legal Centre is supporting Mrs Higgs and lawyers are arguing that her sacking breached her freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
The posts raised concerns about relationship education at her son’s Church of England primary school (pictured), which was to teach the No Outsiders in Our School programme
School governor Stephen Conlan, who chaired the disciplinary panel, said she was dismissed because of the language used in the posts.
Mr Conlan, who is an employment lawyer, told the tribunal in Bristol: ‘We were not concerned with Mrs Higgs’s religious beliefs.
‘We were concerned with the manner in which those beliefs were expressed.’
Pavel Stroilov, representing the mother-of-two, asked Mr Conlan if an employee would have been dismissed if they had posted tweets criticising Brexit – namely supporting the Bollocks to Brexit campaign.
‘I don’t know. It would depend on a whole host of things,’ Mr Conlan replied.
Kristie Higgs outside the Civil Justice Centre in Bristol on Monday. She is seeking £56,000 in damages at a Bristol employment tribunal after senior staff allegedly branded her a ‘Nazi Right-wing extremist’
‘I can’t answer that hypothetical situation. It’s simply not possible to say whether I would dismiss. It is based on the circumstances.’
Mr Conlan was asked if Mrs Higgs would have been dismissed if she had posted on Facebook in support of LGBT teaching in schools and a complaint had been received from someone holding the opposite view.
‘If we are looking at exactly the same, exact set of circumstances, I would say it would still be a gross misconduct case because it is not about the views, but the manner in which they are expressed,’ Mr Conlan replied.
‘She is entitled to express her religious beliefs but the issue was the manner in which they were expressed.
‘The school has not said it has a problem with her expressing her beliefs.
Mrs Higgs shared an article about the rise of transgender ideology in children’s books in American schools
‘You can post your beliefs without posting this sort of language and it is perfectly possible to communicate your beliefs without using such strong language.’
Mrs Higgs, from Fairford, appealed against her dismissal and an appeal panel upheld the original decision.
Mr Stroilov suggested Mr Conlan, who was present at the appeal before three different governors, had ‘dominated’ the hearing.
Mr Conlan replied: ‘I don’t think I dominated the hearing at all.’
Mrs Higgs said: ”I am aware that same-sex marriages are now recognised under UK law, but I believe that is contrary to God’s law – which only recognises marriages between one man and one woman’
In a statement submitted to the employment tribunal on Monday, Mrs Higgs said she ‘does not believe in the modern ideas of gender fluidity and transgenderism’, and believes same-sex marriage is ‘contrary to God’s law’.
‘I was concerned that a lot of parents all over the country and the world simply did not know what was going on,’ she said in a statement.
‘As a Christian, I believe it is morally necessary to speak out in defence of the Bible truth when false and harmful doctrines are being promoted.’
Mrs Higgs told of her shock at being suspended from the school during a meeting with the headmaster, Matthew Evans, and business manager Sue Dorey.
‘I remember saying to them: sorry to put you through this extra work, but what I posted is true – this is happening all over the world,’ she said.
‘I was still shaking when I came home.
‘I rang my dad and then rang my husband. Both of them were in shock. My boys were also in shock to know I was not going back to work.’
Ms Higgs added: ‘I believe that God created mankind as ‘male and female’ and what he has created is good. He does not make mistakes. I therefore do not believe in the modern ideas of gender fluidity and transgenderism.
‘I did not think much about this issue until it was brought up in my younger son’s primary school. I knew that there were cross-dressers and that the practice of cross-dressing had been expressly condemned in the Bible.
‘People cannot change something that has been established by God, such as their identity as a man or a woman.
‘I am aware that same-sex marriages are now recognised under UK law, but I believe that is contrary to God’s law – which only recognises marriages between one man and one woman.’
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