School says JK Rowling is ‘no longer an appropriate role model’ and drops plans to rename one of its houses after the author

Lily Wakefield June 11, 2020
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JK Rowling school

JK Rowling. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

A UK school has decided against renaming one of its houses after JK Rowling, admitting that she “may in fact no longer be an appropriate role model” for students.

Rowling has been widely criticised for a series of vehemently anti-trans tweets, and this week penned an extensive essay attempting to defend her ‘gender critical feminism’.

The Weald School in Billingshurst, West Sussex, had planned from September 2020 to update the school’s house names “to make them more representative of gender, ethnicity and sexuality/gender identity”.

School officials had settled on naming the houses after JK Rowling, Leonardo DaVinci, David Attenborough, Freddie Mercury, nurse Mary Seacole and Tanni Grey-Thompson, winner of 11 Paralympic gold medals.

But, in a letter to parents, carers and students on Wednesday, June 10, the school said the Harry Potter author “may in fact no longer be an appropriate role model” for pupils.

The deputy headteacher of the school, Sarah Edwards, wrote: “JK Rowling has tweeted some messages which are considered to be offensive to the LGBT+ community (specifically, transphobic) and we feel that we do not wish to be associated with these views.

“The Weald is a school which always seeks to be inclusive of people across all of the protected characteristics, and we would not want to cause offence, even inadvertently.”

She said the school had decided to replace the house named after Rowling with one named after Noughts and Crosses author Malorie Blackman.

Edwards added: “Malorie Blackman is a prolific author of children’s and young adult literature, writer of television and radio dramas, was the Children’s Laureate between 2013-2015 and uses her writing as a way of exploring social and ethical issues.

“We feel that she fits the bill as an excellent replacement for a modern-day female author, so that we retain our aim of having a combination of historical and modern significant figures.”

Related topics: anti-trans, Harry Potter, JK Rowling, Malorie Blackman, transphobia, West Sussex

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