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Ethics – Parents in trans child row

November 2017

Isle of Wight parents Nigel and Sally Rowe have been subjected to public and private vitriol after taking their child out of a church school and seeking legal advice about it.

The parents were told on national TV they ‘had a problem’ and their religious ideals were ‘as extreme as people like Islamic State’, because they had removed their six-year-old son from the Church of England primary school, after a classmate wanted to be treated ‘as a girl some days, as a boy on other days’.

The couple voiced concern about their son’s confusion over the change-arounds by his infant classmate.  However, when they spoke to the church school, it responded with a letter warning how ‘incredibly seriously’ it would take any ‘transphobic behaviour’, such as the failure ‘to use [the pupil’s] adopted name or using gender-inappropriate pronouns’.

As reported in the Daily Mail, Mr and Mrs Rowe are now bringing a legal challenge, in the hope that guidelines requiring schools to accept the wishes of children and their families regarding gender identity will be open to public scrutiny.

Hatred

As quoted in the Mail, Mrs Rowe said: ‘This transgender agenda is almost like a trendy thing infiltrating schools, and if you don’t subscribe to it you are a bully. The hatred we’ve received is really painful’.

Mr Rowe commented: ‘This boy in our youngest son’s class, who’s six at the moment, decides one day to be a girl and the next to be a boy. One night I was putting the boys to bed, my son said, “Daddy I’m confused. How can X be a boy one day and a girl the next?” It was really upsetting him. At least if the child was a girl all the time you’d have some chance of explaining’.

He claimed the headteacher said the school had done everything it had been ‘told to do’, but they had no choice: either accept the situation or lose their job.

Mrs Rowe said of the legal challenge: ‘We are challenging the education authority and the diocese on the guidelines they’re giving. We believe they’re quoting from laws that don’t apply in this situation, because the age of when someone is legally recognised as transgender is 18’.