Parents defend removing child, 6, from school because of transgender pupil

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The Christian parents of a six-year-old boy have defended removing him from a school in a row over whether another pupil should be recognised as transgender.

Nigel and Sally Rowe said their son became confused as the child dressed as both a boy and a girl to class. They said the school should have consulted parents on the situation.

The Diocese of Portsmouth, which runs the Church of England school on the Isle of Wight, said in response that it is required to “respect diversity of all kinds”.

Mrs Rowe said that when she contacted the school with her concerns they were told “if a child wants to do then then we just have to accept it”.

And the couple said their son faced being disciplined at the primary school, which has not been named, for “mis-gendering” the other six-year-old.

The Rowes said the school did not show proper regard for possible long-term emotional and psychological effects for the two children seeking to change gender. 

It comes after they removed their eldest son from the same school two years ago in a separate row over a different transgender child.

In an interview on the BBC, Mrs Rowe said: “We believe he [the older boy] was under stress by the confusion that was caused by having a boy in his class that decided that they were going to have a girl’s name and dress as a girl.”

The Rowes are seeking a legal challenge against the schools actions.

Gender row: The couple put their points across to Victoria Derbyshire and Jane Fae on the BBC (BBC)

And they said the idea that gender is fluid conflicts with their family’s Christian beliefs.

According to the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Mr and Mrs Rowe, the couple were being accused of “transphobic behaviour” because of their “refusal to acknowledge a transgender person’s true gender”.

Mr Rowe said: “I am shocked by the suggestion, especially from a church school, that just because we question the notion that a six-year-old boy can really become a girl, we are transphobic.”

Jeff Williams, director of education for the Diocese of Portsmouth, said: “Church of England schools are inclusive environments where pupils learn to respect diversity of all kinds.

“Like any other state school, our schools comply with the legal requirements of the Equalities Act 2010.

“Among other things, this requires schools to accept the wishes of children and their families with regard to gender identity. It would be unlawful for any of our schools to do otherwise.”

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