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Christian teacher seeking legal action, alleging she was fired for showing concern over pupil's gender transition

by Tola Mbakwe

A Christian primary school teacher, who alleges she was sacked after raising safeguarding concerns about a pupil going through a gender transition, is seeking a legal case over the issue.
The teacher, who can't be named for legal reasons, is pursuing a judicial review against the local authority and governing body of a school. 

The teacher argues that the school's "transgender affirming" policies could harm children.

The Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the teacher, says she was told by the school that she had "no choice" but to affirm the child through gender transition or face the consequences.

It adds that the school told the teacher that she "could not share her Christian beliefs in the school or her view, after detailed research that a trans-affirming approach to gender-confusion leads to long-term harm".

Ahead of the permission hearing for judicial review, the teacher said in a statement: "I was given a choice - go against your conscience and do what you believe would cause a vulnerable child long term damage, or face losing your career.

"I could not, based on scientific evidence, my Christian beliefs, and the heart-breaking stories of detransitioners, knowingly participate in harming a child.

"It is because I care so much about children that I am taking this action. This isn't about me proving that I am right, but about the safety of a seriously distressed child.

"Teachers are being discouraged from questioning trans affirming policies when evidence shows that the actual result of the approach is to put the welfare of children at serious risk."

According to the Christian Legal Centre, the teacher was sacked for gross misconduct after taking legal advice and sharing the safeguarding concerns she had for the child. She was also reported to the Teacher Regulation Agency (TRA).

In her appeal, the teacher will argue that the serious long term safeguarding concerns she had for the child overrides confidentiality.

She will also argue that she followed the policy for raising safeguarding concerns, but this was repeatedly sub-delegated to the department that provided the trans affirming advice which the school was relying on.

Dr Julie Maxwell, a Christian community paediatrician, told Premier it's important the teacher takes legal action as people are increasingly being made to feel they can't speak in such situations.

"Safeguarding is obviously one of the most important things that teachers or medical professionals do, because children are vulnerable. And so when you raise any kind of safeguarding concern, you have to feel that you can be comfortable to do that, and that people will take it seriously.

"Particularly in the case of gender, people are increasingly feeling that they can't raise those safeguarding concerns. This is one of the reasons why the Tavistock clinic for children with gender dysphoria is being shut next year. There were found to be significant safeguarding fails because people were afraid to raise those concerns."

The Christian Legal Centre says the case is believed to be the first time that a teacher has taken legal action over safeguarding concerns of a socially transitioning primary school aged child.

Listen to Premier's interview with Dr Julie Maxwell here:

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