A Christian teaching assistant who is suing a school for allegedly sacking her because she opposed plans to teach LGBT relationships to primary pupils said it is ‘morally necessary’ to defend the ‘Bible truth against harmful doctrines’.
Kristie Higgs, 44, was dismissed for gross misconduct by Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire last year after sharing Facebook posts which raised concerns about relationship education at her son’s Church of England primary school.
She is seeking £56,000 in damages at a Bristol employment tribunal after senior staff allegedly branded her a ‘Nazi Right-wing extremist’ after the head teacher was passed a screenshot of one of her private Facebook posts.
Students were to learn about the No Outsiders in Our School programme, which is a series of books on teaching the Equality Act in primary schools.
Ms Higgs, who has spent seven years at the school as a pastoral worker, shared two posts under her maiden name in October 2018 to around 100 of her friends.
In one Facebook post, she urged people to sign an online petition against making relationships education mandatory. In another, she shared an article about the rise of transgender ideology in children’s books in US schools.
In a statement submitted to the employment tribunal today, mother-of-two Ms Higgs said she ‘does not believe in the modern ideas of gender fluidity and transgenderism’, and believes same-sex marriage is ‘contrary to God’s law’.
Kristie Higgs, 44, was dismissed for gross misconduct by Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire last year after sharing Facebook posts which raised concerns about relationship education at her son’s Church of England primary school
Mrs Higgs said senior staff at Farmor’s School compared her views to those of ‘Nazi rightwing extremists’ after they saw a screenshot of a private Facebook post
‘I was concerned that a lot of parents all over the country and the world simply did not know what was going on,’ she said in a statement.
‘As a Christian, I believe it is morally necessary to speak out in defence of the Bible truth when false and harmful doctrines are being promoted.’
An anonymous complaint was made to the school and Ms Higgs was suspended and later dismissed for gross misconduct following a disciplinary hearing.
Ms Higgs told of her shock at being suspended from the school during a meeting with the headmaster, Matthew Evans, and business manager Sue Dorey.
‘I remember saying to them: sorry to put you through this extra work, but what I posted is true – this is happening all over the world,’ she said.
‘I was still shaking when I came home.
‘I rang my dad and then rang my husband. Both of them were in shock. My boys were also in shock to know I was not going back to work.’
Ms Higgs added: ‘I believe that God created mankind as ‘male and female’ and what he has created is good. He does not make mistakes. I therefore do not believe in the modern ideas of gender fluidity and transgenderism.
‘I did not think much about this issue until it was brought up in my younger son’s primary school. I knew that there were cross-dressers and that the practice of cross-dressing had been expressly condemned in the Bible.
She is seeking £56,000 in damages at a Bristol employment tribunal after senior staff allegedly compared her views to those of ‘Nazi Right-wing extremists’ after the head teacher was passed a screenshot of one of her private Facebook posts
‘People cannot change something that has been established by God, such as their identity as a man or a woman. I am aware that same-sex marriages are now recognised under UK law, but I believe that is contrary to God’s law – which only recognises marriages between one man and one woman.’
Lawyers from the Christian Legal Centre will argue she had a spotless employment record and that the sacking breached her freedom of speech and religion.
Chief executive Andrea Williams told MailOnline: ‘This case is about the freedom to hold Christian views about what it means to be human. Many Christians have faced pressure for expressing these views in the workplace before, but in this case, Kristie has been dismissed for sharing her views among friends on Facebook.
‘What Kristie shared on Facebook simply reflects the genuine and justified concerns of a parent about the sexual ideology currently being imposed on her own children and thousands of children across the UK.
‘Kristie has not only lost her job, but her whole career is now tarnished with the accusation that for holding these views she is now a danger to vulnerable children.
‘This is despite an exemplary record at the school and in her work with youth in the wider community. If Kristie does not win this case, due to one complaint, she will never be able to work with children again.’
She added: ‘Kristie is a kind, loving and courageous woman, and we will stand side by side with her as she fights for justice.’
Describing the affect upon her, Ms Higgs wrote: ‘For a long time after those events, I was scared to go anywhere in the town.
‘Many people who worked at Farmor’s School would have known that I was dismissed for ‘gross misconduct’.
‘Fairford is small town, and I felt like everybody knew what had happened to me.’
In one of the two Facebook posts, she shared an article from JudyBeth, an American conservative Christian commentator
Ahead of today’s hearing, she said: ‘I was told that the reasons behind my sacking were nothing to do with my Christian beliefs – it had everything to do with my Christian beliefs. The whole experience broke my heart.
‘I have been punished for sharing concerns about relationships and sex education. My number one concern has always been the effect that learning about sex and gender in school will have on children at such a young age.
I have not discriminated against anyone. Through my case I want there to be renewed freedom for others, especially Christians, to express their beliefs and opinions without fear of losing their jobs.’
A spokesman for Farmor’s School said: ‘As this matter is subject to ongoing tribunal proceedings it would be inappropriate to comment at this stage.’