Christian school worker ‘not sacked for beliefs’

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image captionKristie Higgs was dismissed for gross misconduct by Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire

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.css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}A Christian school worker was sacked for criticising LGBT lessons for pupils on Facebook and not for her religious beliefs, a tribunal has heard.

Kristie Higgs, 44, was dismissed for gross misconduct by Farmor’s School in Fairford, Gloucestershire, last year after sharing two Facebook posts.

At the employment tribunal in Bristol, she claims her sacking breached her freedom of speech and religion.

Ms Higgs’ case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre.

School governor Stephen Conlan, who had chaired Mrs Higgs’ disciplinary panel, said she was dismissed because of the language used in the posts.

He told the tribunal: “We were not concerned with Mrs Higgs’s religious beliefs. We were concerned with the manner in which those beliefs were expressed.

“You can post your beliefs without posting this sort of language and it is perfectly possible to communicate your beliefs without using such strong language.”

Mrs Higgs’ posts raised concerns about relationship education at her son’s Church of England primary school, which was to teach the No Outsiders in Our School programme.

In one, she shared an article about the rise of transgender ideology in children’s books in American schools.

Mr Conlan was asked if Mrs Higgs would have been dismissed if she had posted in support of LGBT teaching in schools and a complaint had been received from someone holding the opposite view.

“If we are looking at exactly the same, exact set of circumstances, I would say it would still be a gross misconduct case because it is not about the views, but the manner in which they are expressed,” Mr Conlan replied.

Mrs Higgs was suspended from her role as a pastoral assistant after the school received an anonymous complaint in October 2018. She was later sacked.

The tribunal continues.

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