A primary school in London held a private event celebrating Pride after a group of parents threatened to protest a planned school parade. Heavers Farm Primary School sent a letter to families inviting them to watch the “Proud to be Me!” parade, wanting parents to join them in celebrating “the rainbow of things that make them and their family special”.
The event was cancelled at the last minute when the headteacher received warnings that a group of parents planned to protest. The school held an assembly and discreet parade in the morning. Parents were invited to come into the classrooms for the afternoon to learn about the school’s work on diversity and inclusion.
The primary school shared some photos of the event on Twitter and retweeted positive messages from parents.
Well done @HeaversfarmSE25 for teaching kids about #Pride – it’s a multicoloured world and there’s space for us all. My daughter has embraced the theme with a rainbow skirt, sparkly headband and a superhero cape. So proud! #fightprejudice #HeaversSuperheroes
— Jo Macfarlane (@jomacfarlane) June 29, 2018
In attendance of the celebration was Labour MP for Croydon North Steve Reed. He tweeted pictures of the parade and said he was “very proud of them for standing up for equality and diversity”.
Other parents reported that some families took their children out of school for the entire day of the parade.
“There were dozens of us who were upset and waited outside the school office to demand a meeting when we heard what was being taught,” one mother told the Evening Standard. ” I want to be able to educate my child on these things, it’s not just a matter of religion or our religious beliefs.”
Other parents said that people don’t want their children to know what terms such as LGBT mean or what they are.
“Some parents have taken exception to this. They feel the school is shoving LGBT issues down the kids’ throats. This takes us back decades.” Susan Papas, headteacher of the South Norwood school, told the Standard. “We thought we would celebrate Pride month so those children from LGBT families would feel included and to show the kids that children come from different families.
Erica Chamberlain, the mother of five-year-old student Scarlett, told the Standard, “The very nature of a Pride parade is to be proud- not celebrate it quietly and non-publicly.”
The news comes one day after the UK government announced their plan to ban gay conversion therapy. A 75-point action plan was introduced in response to an extensive survey where two-thirds of LGBT people said they avoid holding hands in public due to fear of homophobia.
There are criticisms of the ban, saying it was “pure pink-washing”. Some critics argue that gay conversion therapy is a response to homophobia and “centuries of ingrained hate”.
In an opinion piece for The Guardian, Damien Barr said, “A real action plan would tackle homophobia at the root, in health and education.” London Pride is set to take place this Saturday 7 July.
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