Christian school worker sacked over anti-LGBTQ+ inclusion Facebook posts wins appeal

Former pastoral assistant Kristie Higgs

A Christian school worker who was sacked after sharing Facebook posts criticising LGBTQ+ inclusion has won an appeal overturning a previous ruling that upheld her dismissal.

Kristie Higgs, who worked at Farmor’s School in Fairford, was dismissed from her role in 2019 after she shared Facebook posts criticising plans to teach LGBTQ+ sex and relationships education in primary schools.

She made the posts in 2018 following a letter from her son’s Church of England primary school stating it would be using the No Outsiders programme to promote diversity and inclusion.

This included introducing books such as My Princess Boy and Red: A Crayon’s Story, which have stoked controversy for having LGBTQ+ themes.

A parent reported Higgs posts to her employer who suspended her, and after a six-hour disciplinary hearing, dismissed her for gross misconduct.

In 2020, a tribunal upheld her dismissal, but on Friday (16 June) a judge allowed an appeal against the decision of Bristol Employment Tribunal.

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“The freedom to manifest belief (religious or otherwise) and to express views relating to that belief are essential rights in any democracy, whether or not the belief in question is popular or mainstream and even if its expression may offend,” president of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, Dame Jennifer Eady, said in the judgement.

Responding to the ruling, Higgs said she was “pleased that the courts have overturned the previous judgment” but equally “frustrated” in the delays to her “receiving justice”.

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“From the beginning, despite the many attempts by the school to suggest otherwise, this has always been about my Christian beliefs and me being discriminated against for expressing them in my own time she continued.

“I was, and still am, appalled by the sexual ideology that was being introduced to my son’s Church of England primary school.”

Higgs added: “Christian parents must have the freedom to bring their children up in line with their Christian beliefs. I want young children to be protected from transgender ideology and Christians must also to be able to share their opinions and beliefs without fear of losing their jobs.”

Commenting on the case, Andrea Williams – chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting Higgs – said: “This is a win for Kristie, but Mrs Justice Eady should have had the courage to exonerate her. Instead, she is suggesting a rehearing before the same Tribunal that heard the case in the first place.

“We press on in this important case. We are pleased that the force of the facts in this case meant the judge had to do the right thing. I believe this for all our cases and here the judge couldn’t go anywhere else.”

Williams added: “The previous judgment that upheld her sacking could not stand. In what should have been a cut and dry case of discrimination, however, it has been unnerving to encounter the series of obstacles blocking Kristie securing justice.

“The double recusals in this case are no coincidence and reveal the shadowy forces at play that are determined to prevent a good and sincere Christian mother from receiving justice.

“No Outsiders books that promote extreme gender identity ideology, harm and confusion have no place in a Church of England or indeed any school in the UK.”

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