School suspends administrator for reservations about ‘LGBT Pride’ reading list
UPDATE, October 17, 2019: This story has been updated to include additional information about the books themselves from Christian Legal Centre.
NORTH LONDON, October 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Alperton Community School in North London suspended an education official for raising questions about parental rights in response to a proposed reading list for “LGBTQ+ Pride Month.”
During a Curriculum and Standards meeting that took place in May, Maureen Griffith, who has served as a governor (an office similar to a school board member) for decades, expressed concern that “parents had not been consulted” about the upcoming introduction of several "gender-specific reading lists," including one for "LGBTQ+ Pride Month." She told her colleagues that religious parents in particular would “not want their children to have this form of sex education,” CBN News reported. “As a parent myself, I would not have wanted my sons to be reading LGBT books or to be involved in an LGBT Pride month,” she said.
Christian Legal Centre (CLC), which is representing her, informed LifeSiteNews that among the books listed on the materials provided to school governors were What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (about "two very different boys who can't decide if the universe is pushing them together or pulling them apart") and The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater (a true story of "recovery, reconciliation, forgiveness and, above all, hope" after an impoverished teenager lights a sleeping "agender" teen on fire).
That provoked disgust from her colleagues, and 11 days later Griffith received a letter notifying her that she was suspended “breaching the Governors Code of Conduct” by making “homophobic comments at a public meeting that were offensive to members of staff.”
“It is my job to notice things that others do not,” Griffith defended herself in a statement. “In meetings where someone may want to push something through, I scrutinize, and this leads to discussion, debate and finding consensus on the right way to move forward. When they told me I had been ‘homophobic’ for scrutinizing the introduction of LGBT Pride Month, I had to go home and look up what it meant. I couldn’t believe it.
“But now with this LGBT agenda, not just in schools, but across society, there is no debate, no questioning, and there is only a one-way democracy,” she lamented.
Griffith took her case to CLC, which detailed the current state of the case this week in a press release. She wrote back to the school, requesting that the school reconsider its decision. CLC says Griffith was promised a “speedy conclusion” at a July 3 meeting but has heard nothing in the subsequent months.
“What has taken place at this school is a microcosm of what is happening across our society and sends a clear message to teachers, governors and students: If you oppose the LGBT agenda, you will be silenced and punished,” CLC chief executive Andrea Williams said. “Such censor for merely questioning whether books with LGBT themes are appropriate for school libraries, and asking whether parents had been properly consulted, cannot go unchallenged. We call on the school to reinstate Mrs. Griffith and issue a full apology.”
Christianity Today reported that Alperton Community School would not comment on the specifics of the case. But it claimed to follow the “National Governance Association Governors Code of Conduct, and that where complaints are raised in respect of Governors, the School would always consider whether an impartial and independent investigation is necessary.” The school insisted that its “policies and resources are regularly reviewed and are wholly appropriate for the School community."
In the meantime, Griffith says she’s relying on her faith to sustain her. “My faith in Jesus is very important to me in good and bad times – it is my be all and end all,” she said. “I can do nothing without His help, and He makes my burden lighter.”