Christian Teaching Assistant Fired for Raising Trans Concerns Emerges Victorious in Appeal

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Photo: Screenshot from Twitter - ThePeopleHour

Kristie Higgs, a Christian teaching assistant , who was dismissed from her position after raising concerns about transgender and compulsory sex education at her son’s Church of England (CofE) primary school, has successfully won her appeal. The ruling took place on Friday, June 16.

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The previous ruling in October 2020 at Bristol Employment Tribunal had upheld her sacking, but the recent judgement by the President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, Dame Jennifer Eady, has overturned the decision.

Mrs. Higgs had shared two Facebook posts expressing her concerns about the way transgenderism and compulsory sex education were being taught at her son’s school. Her posts questioned the school’s approach and raised issues regarding the impact on children’s well-being and the conflict with her Christian beliefs. Following these posts, she was dismissed from her position as a teaching assistant.

Dame Jennifer Eady, in her judgement, emphasised the importance of freedom of belief and expression in a democratic society. She stated, “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.” This ruling underscores the significance of upholding individual rights, regardless of the popularity or acceptance of one’s beliefs.

The judgement also considered whether Mrs. Higgs’s dismissal was justified under the Equality Act 2010. The Act prohibits discrimination based on protected characteristics, including religion or belief. However, the tribunal concluded that her dismissal was not justified and constituted direct discrimination on the grounds of her Christian beliefs. This ruling sets an important precedent in cases involving the clash between religious beliefs and employment rights.

The decision has been seen as a victory for freedom of expression and religious liberty. Supporters of Mrs. Higgs argue that her concerns were legitimate and rooted in her religious beliefs, which should be protected in a diverse society. They believe that stifling dissenting views on controversial topics can lead to a chilling effect on open discussions and undermine the principles of free speech.

There was an official announcement made on Twitter by Christian Concern about the win. Christian Concern community has been in support of Mrs. Higgs over the years, and saw her to victory.

 In a statement, Mrs Higgs said : “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.

“I will never forget the moment, shaking and tearful, that I was ordered to leave the school premises after my Christian beliefs were aligned with Nazism.

“Since I lost the job I loved, there has been so many disturbing revelations about transgender ideology in schools and children being taught inappropriate sex education. I feel so justified and vindicated for sharing and expressing the concerns that I did.

“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.”

The outcome of this appeal has significant implications for similar cases in the future, as it reaffirms the importance of protecting freedom of expression and belief. The ruling sends a message that individuals should not be penalised or dismissed from their positions solely because their beliefs may differ from prevailing societal norms.

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