Kristie Higg was sacked for gross misconduct by Farmor’s School after sharing Facebook posts criticising plans to teach LGBT relationships in primary schools
LAST month we reported that teacher Higgs, 44, was sacked last for gross misconduct by Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire, and that, with the help of the anti-LGBT outfit the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), was mounting a legal challenge against her dismissal.
Higgs, above, claimed:
I have been 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.
Like so many previous CLC cases involving “persecuted” Christians this was doomed to failure – and this week Christian Concern glumly reported that the Bristol Employment Tribunal dismissed Higgs’ case, finding that her sacking was not related to the Christian beliefs she expressed on social media.
Rather, her dismissal, according to Employment Judge Reed:
Was the result of a genuine belief on the part of the school that she had committed gross misconduct.
The judgment reads, in part:
Although not stated as clearly or simply as this, the act of which we concluded Mrs Higgs was accused and eventually found guilty was posting items on Facebook that might reasonably lead people who read her posts to conclude that she was homophobic and transphobic …
That behaviour, the school felt, had the potential for a negative impact in relation to various groups of people, namely pupils, parents, staff and the wider community.
However, the Tribunal acknowledged that Higgs’ Christian beliefs on sexual ethics did not equate to homophobia or transphobia. The judgment notes:
She told us she ‘loved everyone’ and there was no reason to believe she would behave towards any person in a way such as to deliberately and gratuitously upset or offend them.
Yeah, Christians are always banging on about how much they love everyone while spewing hate. Frankly I’m appalled that the Tribunal swallowed Higgs’ baloney.
The Tribunal agreed with the school’s position that it was concerned that readers of her Facebook posts would see them as homophobic and transphobic rather than merely an expression of Christian beliefs “in a temperate and rational way”.
According to Christian Concern:
Kristie was subjected to intimidating questioning by the panel of three governors, supported by three other members of staff. Her posts were compared to ‘pro-Nazi’ views, and she was accused of intolerance.
When she tried to explain the context of her Christian beliefs she was told: ‘keep your religion out of it.’
Kristie argued that her aim had been merely to raise awareness among parents of the government’s education plans and the transgender books being taught in primary schools. The academy concluded, however, that Kristie would be dismissed for ‘illegal discrimination,’ ‘serious inappropriate use of social media, and ‘online comments that could bring the school into disrepute and damage the reputation of the school.
Enter the alarming Andrea Minichiello Williams, Chief Executive of the Christian Legal Centre. She said:
This judgment should concern all of us who care about the freedom to be a Christian believer in the UK.
Kristie has supposedly been dismissed, not for the posts she made, but for a deliberately distorted and unkind interpretation of the content that she linked to.
Even though her post was private to her family and friends she is being held responsible for what others might do with it. Even though no one actually thinks or claimed that Kristie holds hateful views, she is being fired because one anonymous ‘friend’ said they were and because others might think the same.
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. The posts were not even in relation to the secondary school but about the books being read in her son’s primary school.
This hearing has exposed this clear injustice and we will support Kristie for as long as it takes to turn this around.
Higgs intends to appeal the decision, and Christian Concern wants people to send thoughts and prayers.
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