Christian school worker fired over anti-LGBTQ+ Facebook ‘brainwashing’ posts appeals ruling
Kristie Higgs, a Christian school worker sacked for sharing extreme anti-LGBTQ+ social media posts, is appealing the outcome of an employment tribunal.
The former pastoral assistant at Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire was fired for gross misconduct in January 2019 for posting homophobic and transphobic content on Facebook.
Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, an offshoot of anti-LGBTQ+ lobbying group Christian Concern, she took her former employer to an employment tribunal in 2020, alleging that she had been subjected to “religious discrimination”.
The school denied that Higg’s faith was the cause of her dismissal, instead citing the language used in her Facebook posts.
Employment judge Derek Reed dismissed the case in October 2020, and upheld the reasoning given by Farmor’s School, agreeing that Higgs was sacked for making “homophobic and transphobic” comments – not for being a Christian.
Judge Derek Reed affirmed that the pastoral assistant was fired “because the school felt that the language used in those posts might reasonably lead someone who read them to conclude that she held [transphobic and homophobic] views” and due to “a genuine belief on the part of the school that she had committed gross misconduct”.
The ruling continued: “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.”
Kristie Higgs was granted permission to appeal the employment tribunal’s decision in 2021.
Higgs accused schools of ‘brainwashing our children‘
Among the offensive content Higgs posted on Facebook was a petition from ultra-conservative anti-LGBTQ+ lobbying group CitizenGo, which has accused the United Nations of “pushing perverted sexual education onto kids, destroying their minds and morals”.
The petition she linked to was calling to “stop supporting LGBT indoctrination”.
Higgs also accused schools of “brainwashing our children” through inclusive education about different relationships.
She claimed this means “children will be taught that all relationships are equally valid and ‘normal’, 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”.
She encouraged her followers to sign the petition, stating: “They have already started to brainwash our innocent wonderfully created children and it’s happening in our local primary school now.”
In September 2020, guidelines for compulsory Relationships and Sex Education were introduced, stating that primary school children should learn about different types of families – including those with same-sex parents. Secondary school pupils should be taught about sexual orientation and gender identity.
Higgs’ appeal against the ruling is being heard at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in London, on Wednesday (16 March) and Thursday (17 March).
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