Proposed Equality Bills 96 and 97 are ostensibly aimed at protecting an extensive group of people from discrimination and cover areas such as schools, public religious symbols, and services and employment. The Bills would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, religious belief, state of health, and other “protected characteristics.” However, many sectors of society, including educators, professionals, business owners, health workers, parents, faith-based groups, and believers are concerned about the laws' overreach.
Following plans first proposed in a government consultation last year, parents of children attending Welsh schools will no longer have a legal right to withdraw their children from compulsory relationships and sex education (RSE), as well as and religious education (RE) classes.
A new policy aimed at affirming parental authority in Spanish schools in Murcia has made national headlines in the country. The so-called 'Parental Pin' would oblige schools in the autonomous region of Murcia to seek the permission of parents for student participation in extra-curricular activities, including lessons and workshops on LGBT issues given by external speakers.
A High Court judge ruled in favor of an exclusion zone around a school in Birmingham permanent, preventing parents from protesting outside the grounds against the "No Outsiders" primary school programme that teaches about LGBT relationships. Many parents and activists claim the programme contradicts their faith and is not "age appropriate." A temporary exclusion zone was first imposed by the courts in the summer after months of protests outside Anderton Park Primary School by mostly Muslim parents. Birmingham City Council claimed that the order was sought from the courts over safety concerns.
Tens of thousands of French protestors took to the streets of Paris on October 6th to protest the draft bioethics law which passed the lower house of parliament on September 25th. The bill would, amongst other provisions, allow all women under 43 the right to "medically assisted procreation," including in-vitro fertilization (IVF), regardless of their relationship status, or sexual orientation. Currently, French law only allows access to IVF to heterosexual couples unable to have children through natural means, who are either married, or who have lived together for two years.
Kristie Higgs, a Christian school worker will challenge a Gloucestershire school academy’s decision to dismiss her for gross misconduct. She was dismissed after she shared two posts on her Facebook page in October 2018 that raised concerns about Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) at another school in the same village - her child’s Church of England primary school. Higgs was told following an investigation and a six hour hearing that she would be dismissed without notice for gross misconduct.
New "relationships and sex education" (RSE) guidance published on February 25th requires schools to teach primary and secondary school children about LGBT relationships and may not permit parents to opt-out. Parents of primary school children are permitted to withdraw their children from the sex education component of RSE, but the relationships component would be mandatory.
In November, several parents of children who were required to participate in a "Proud to be me" pride parade at the Heavers Farm Primary School in South East London threatened legal action. Despite numerous complaints from parents, they were informed that no opt-outs would be allowed. Parents, including Izoduwa Adhedo, reported that they were treated dismissively and victimized following their complaints. "I wasn't even trying to stop the Pride event. I just wanted my child to receive an education, rather than indoctrination," Adhedo said.
For the third year in a row, more than 200 schools across Poland participated in "Rainbow Friday," a campaign to celebrate and promote acceptance of LGBT issues. The Ordo Iuris Institute for Legal Culture examined whether such an addition to the school curriculum violated the education law and interfered with the constitutionally protected rights of parents to direct the education of their children. It encouraged parents who objected to their children's participation in the program to inform the schools of their wishes, and to report violations if their children are compelled to attend.
The parents of a two-year old student objected to the school participating in the Viernes de Dolores (Friday of Sorrows) procession. The Escuela Infantil Sagrada Familia organized the procession from the school to the neighborhood parish on March 23rd as part of the traditional celebrations of the Holy Week. The school council approved the voluntary event, but the Andalusian educational authority cancelled it after the parents complained.
The City Council of Madrid placed an advertising poster for a publicly-funded theatrical performance entitled "The place where the whores pray" (El lugar donde rezan las putas) directly in front of two Catholic schools. The play, performed at the public Teatro Español, was described by promoters as exploring "theater in times of rage."
The political party Equo Andalucía demanded that the Junta de Andalucía (Regional Government of Andalusia) exercise extreme vigilance to prevent public schools from organizing and celebrating Easter processions for children during Holy Week. Party leaders reminded the government that they had registered complaints about children's processions the previous year.
The governing party announced the proposal on March 13, 2018, citing concerns about "systematic gender segregation and opinions that do not belong in Swedish schools." Although no examples of problems in Christian schools were cited, they would be included in the plan. Jewish schools would be exempted.
New government guidance by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) encourages schools to “ensure the visibility” of transgender perspectives in the classroom.
After a parents' group complained about a Christian charity's "fundamentalist approach" in discussions of sin, St. John's Church of England Primary School in Tunbridge Wells agreed to block CrossTeach from running assemblies or giving lessons. The campaign also demands the removal of crosses, Bibles and clergy from Church of England school assemblies.
A Christian five-year-old girl was placed into foster care with a Muslim family in London. Confidential local authority reports suggest that the foster family removed the girl's Christian cross necklace, suggested she learn Arabic, and forbade her from eating pork. In addition, It was alleged that when she had a visit with her biological mother, the girl said that Christmas was “stupid” and European women are “stupid alcoholics”. The court having jurisdiction ruled on August 29, 2017 that the girl should be placed with her grandmother.
Christian schools may soon be required to ensure that half of their students are from different religious backgrounds, due to concerns that Christian-only schools "heighten community divisions."
An independent religious kindergarten in Umeå, Sweden, was forced to stop saying grace before meals by the county government. The Education Act says that religious elements may be included in education at independent schools, but they must be voluntary in order for the children to participate. The law does not say that the children themselves must agree, but rather that their parents consent on their behalf. The county argued that the children have not made the choice to participate in saying grace and have thus prohibited it. Preschool Director Britt Marie Mårtensson said they replaced grace with "Thank you for the sun and the rain and the food on our table."
The Ministry of Education in Spain has proposed changing the Carnival and Easter Holidays to a week in late February and May respectively in order to remove the religious connections from the school holidays. This proposal is waiting to be ratified and implemented for the school year 2017/2018.
A social worker from Kent met with parents who were considering placing their child for adoption and told them the chances of their son being adopted would be hindered if he were “christened into the Christian faith,” after they expressed their wish to have their son baptized.