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Boy in a dress — Isle of Wight parents to take on Church of England school over transgender policy

Isle of Wight County Press Image

Megan Baynes

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Monday, September 11, 2017 - 14:06

ISLE of Wight Pride said they are “shocked and saddened” to hear of the transgender row which erupted on the Island over the weekend. 
Freshwater couple Nigel and Sally Rowe made headlines after it was reported they threatened to take their son's primary school to a tribunal after a six-year-old boy was allowed to wear a dress in class. 
Their son will be schooled at home with his eight-year-old brother, who they removed from the same school a year ago when the boy in question first started wearing dresses. 
The couple told the Sunday Times: “A child age six would sometimes come to school as a girl, or sometimes come to school as a boy. Our concerns were raised when our son came back home saying he was confused as to why and how a boy was now a girl.
“We believe it is wrong to encourage very young children to embrace transgenderism. Boys are boys and girls are girls.
“Gender dysphoria is something we as Christians need to address with love and compassion, but not in the sphere of a primary school environment.”
The parents argued the school acted without due regard to the best interest of their son or other pupils.
In a statement to the County Press, Isle of Wight Pride said: “Pride recognises that this is not an issue about sexuality whatsoever, but is about gender identity and regardless of anyone's views or beliefs there are children involved and affected by this issue which must be a priority.
“We are glad the school in question did the right thing and made the school a welcome and diverse environment for all of their pupils.”
The Diocese of Portsmouth has sided with the school.
Jeff Williams, director of education for the Diocese of Portsmouth, said: “Church of England schools are inclusive environments where pupils learn to respect diversity of all kinds. Like any other state school, our schools comply with the legal requirements of the Equalities Act 2010. Among other things, this requires schools to accept the wishes of children and their families with regard to gender identity. It would be unlawful for any of our schools to do otherwise.
“Because our schools have a Christian ethos, we also believe that children of all faiths and those with none should all feel equally welcomed, valued and nurtured as children of God within our learning communities.”

 


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