February 17, 2019
A celebrated teacher at a Birmingham school is facing a backlash from parents due to their opposition of the content of his classes.
Andrew Moffat leads a "No Outsiders" project which teaches LGBTQ equality and challenges homophobia, but not everyone approves.
Moffat, the assistant head at Parkfield Community School in the predominantly Muslim Alum Rock area in Birmingham, is gay and received threatening messages.
Moffat told BBC: "I’ve had some nasty emails, I’ve had some comments on messenger. I have felt very threatened. It’s been a challenging couple of weeks."
Some parents are protesting that the school is teaching young children about same-sex couples and gender identity.
They accuse Moffat of promoting his personal beliefs. Some protesters even held sign implying that the teachings were Islamophobic.
Moffat, while shaken by the protests, has been heartened by the support he has received from the school.
A member of the protest said: "promoting [...] personal beliefs and convictions about universal acceptability of homosexuality as being normal and morally correct."
The parents have organized a petition against Moffat’s teachings at the school and have collected more than 400 signatures so far.
Parkfield is attended by 741 students, and they have received an “outstanding” rating by Ofsted. Moffat has been awarded an MBE for services to equality and diversity in education in 2017.
While the school is disappointed by the response from the community, they released a statement saying they have no intention of making any changes to the content of their classes.
Moffat, while shaken by the protests, has been heartened by the support he has received from the school. Moffat said:
"However, what keeps me going is the support from the school which is brilliant, the DfE, Ofsted, the city council. There are lots of people recognizing that this work is important and that's what you have to hold on to."
Gay teachers are often harassed for the lifestyle choices, and Susan Trabant, a teacher from Prince George, compiled the best "coming out stories" for BCTF.
The teachers interviewed explained how harassment had shattered their confidence. One teacher from Burnaby explained:
"Looking back, I am reminded how much fear and anxiety I had about being myself at work."
December 17, 2018