Forty-three-year-old mother of two Kristie Higgs was fired for “gross misconduct” from Farmor's School in Fairford, Gloucestershire after she stood up against so-called relationship education pushed by the government.
“It had everything to do with my Christianity. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous”, she insisted in the interview with the Daily Mail.
After her son’s Church of England primary school introduced lessons about sexual minorities, she reached an agreement with teachers there that he would not attend them. However, the former school assistant, who is vocal about her Christian beliefs, also turned to social media to protest.
She shared someone’s petition, which slammed teaching children that same-sex marriage is equal to traditional marriage and that gender is a matter of choice, not biology. The woman added in the fatal post: “They are brainwashing our children!” She also shared an American blog post about propagating transgender ideology in children's books in the US.
Some of her Facebook friends, whose identity was not revealed to Higgs, complained to her employer, claiming that she was “posting homophobic and prejudiced views against the LGBT community on Facebook”, as the Daily Mail reports.
“My only crime was to share information about what was happening in schools with other parents and I can’t see what was so terrible about that. I was raising concerns about my son being educated in matters that are not aligned with my religious beliefs and people could choose to agree or disagree”, she told the Daily Mail.
This led to her immediate suspension and an investigation, during which the school officials studied her emails and tried to find out if she had subscribed to a Christian broadcast service, using the school email address. During the hearing, she was told that a parent had complained. According to her, one of the governors compared her Facebook posts to comments by an extremist.
“I was shocked that they put my posts about Christianity in the same category as political extremists”, she said.
The ruling by the disciplinary panel found her guilty of “serious inappropriate use of social media”, concluding that her posts had amounted to “illegal discrimination”. According to the panel, there was “clear evidence of discrimination against the complainant in the form of harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender reassignment”. The appeal against the dismissal was rejected.
However, Higgs turned to the Christian Legal Centre and she launched a claim against her former employer, insisting her dismissal was wrongful and accusing it of illegal discrimination against her religious beliefs.