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Police investigating homophobic graffiti at Birmingham school facing protests

Nick Duffy March 9, 2019
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Andrew Moffat teaching his No Outsiders programme to students in Birmingham

Andrew Moffat teaching his No Outsiders programme to students in Birmingham (Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize/YouTube)

Police are investigating homophobic graffiti at a Birmingham school that has become a focal point of a battle over LGBT-inclusive education.

Parkfield Community School in Birmingham has faced weeks of protests from Muslims and evangelical Christians who are opposed to anti-bullying lessons that teach children about LGBT+ people.

On Thursday (March 7) a video went viral from a protest outside the school, with a speaker accusing teachers of “aggressively promoting” gay lifestyles, followed by chants of “shame” directed at the school’s gay assistant headteacher Andrew Moffat.

Police say anti-gay graffiti is ‘completely unacceptable’

The Birmingham school has also been targeted with homophobic graffiti amid the protests, West Midlands Police confirmed.

A statement said: “A school governor contacted police after homophobic graffiti was daubed onto the school premises during half term.

“This matter is currently under investigation.

“As a force we remain wholly committed to tackling all forms of hate crime, as such behaviour is completely unacceptable within our many diverse and multi-cultural communities.”

Police reviewing video evidence from Birmingham school protest

Police say they are also reviewing the video footage from the protests, though no complaint has been made.

The statement said: “Video footage circulated on social media is being reviewed to establish whether any additional offences have taken place.”

Protests at Birmingham school over LGBT-inclusive education
Protests at Birmingham school over LGBT-inclusive education

West Midlands Police added: “Officers have been working closely with the school, the local community and the parents to facilitate the protests, and prevent a breach of the peace.

“No formal complaints have been made to West Midlands Police by Parkfield Community School, or any of the staff who teach there.”

In the video from March 7, a speaker at the protests said: “We don’t send our children to school to be indoctrinated.

“This programme is very toxic. Not only are we aiming to have it abolished in this school, we are going to have it abolished in every school in the country.”

Homophobia at Birmingham school protests condemned

A response from Birmingham City Council said: “We have been appalled to see attempts to divide the people of our city by using insulting and incendiary language targeting the LGBT community. This has no place in our city.

“Birmingham is a place of tolerance and mutual respect, where people of all faiths and none, all sexualities, all ethnicities, come together in pursuit of a common aim. This council will continue to champion these values and support all communities in putting them into action.”

Labour MP Jess Phillips responded: “I feel heartbroken by the video circulating, which I will not repost from outside a Birmingham school.

“Truly heartbroken it is so damaging for both LGBTQI community but also harms the Muslim community and does not represent our city at all.”

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