A Christian teaching assistant, who was fired last year for speaking out against pro-LGBT influences in her son’s education, is suing her former employer for the equivalent of about $70,000.
Forty-four-year-old Kristie Higgs was let go for alleged “gross misconduct” from her job at Farmor’s School in Fairford, a Church of England school in Gloucestershire, last April.
The former pastoral assistant was let go after an anonymous complaint was submitted about her posting on Facebook her objection to the use of two LGBT books in her son’s primary school. She had also urged friends on Facebook to sign a petition opposing a new policy of compulsory sex education in primary schools.
She was dismissed after a disciplinary hearing in which she was allegedly told to “keep your religion out of it.” According to her legal team, Higgs was formally accused by the school’s governors of “illegal discrimination,” "serious inappropriate use of social media,” and "online comments that could bring the school into disrepute and damage the reputation of the school.”
Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Higgs filed a complaint with the Bristol Employment Tribunal, claiming her former employer discriminated against and harassed her on “the grounds of her Christian beliefs.”
Two hearings will take place this week.
“Nothing could have prepared me for what happened. 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,” Higgs argued in a statement. “The whole experience broke my heart.”
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Higgs claimed that she was “punished for sharing concerns about Relationships and Sex Education” — concerns she holds because of her Christian beliefs that are shared by “hundreds of thousands of parents across the UK.”
“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,” she added. “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.”
Andrew Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, argued in a statement that Higgs’ case is about “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,” Williams noted. “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.”
Williams explained that Higgs is at the risk of losing her ability to ever work with children again because she has been deemed “a danger to vulnerable children. “
In a statement submitted to the tribunal, Higgs argued that she believes it is “morally necessary” as a Christian to “speak out in defense of the Bible truth when false and harmful doctrines are being promoted.”
In her defense, the Christian Legal Centre points out that Higgs was dismissed based on one anonymous complaint even though she has an “exemplary record at the school and in her work with youth in the wider community.”
A spokesperson for Farmor’s School told the Daily Mail that it would be “inappropriate” for the school to comment on Higgs’ case while it is before a tribunal.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced that schools in England will broaden sex and relationship education to include same-sex relationships and transgenderism, among other things.
Under the policy, parents can opt their children out of sex and relationships education in primary school. They can also withdraw their children from sex and education lessons until their students are 15 years old and can choose to participate in lessons.