School worker speaks of shock at dismissal over Facebook posts

Kristie Higgs is taking her former employer to an employment tribunal after she was sacked from her job at a school

Kristie Higgs employment tribunal
Kristie Higgs employment tribunal

A Christian school assistant has spoken of her shock at being sacked for posting on Facebook about plans to teach LGBT relationships in primary schools.

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

The mother-of-two, from Fairford, shared and commented on Facebook posts which raised concerns about relationship education at her son’s Church of England primary school.

Students were to learn about the No Outsiders in Our School programme, which is a series of books on teaching the Equality Act in primary schools.

Kristie Higgs has taken her unfair dismissal case to an employment tribunal (Rod Minchin/PA)
Kristie Higgs has taken her unfair dismissal case to an employment tribunal (Rod Minchin/PA)

Mrs Higgs, who was posting on Facebook under her maiden name, shared two posts in October 2018 to around 100 of her friends.

In one Facebook post, Mrs Higgs urged people to sign an online petition against making relationships education mandatory.

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

“I was concerned that a lot of parents all over the country and the world simply did not know what was going on,” Mrs Higgs said in a statement submitted to an employment tribunal in Bristol.

“As a Christian, I believe it is morally necessary to speak out in defence of the Bible truth when false and harmful doctrines are being promoted.”

An anonymous complaint was made to the school and Mrs Higgs was suspended and later dismissed for gross misconduct following a disciplinary hearing.

Mrs Higgs told of her shock at being suspended from the school during a meeting with the headmaster, Matthew Evans, and business manager Sue Dorey.

“I remember saying to them: sorry to put you through this extra work, but what I posted is true – this is happening all over the world,” she said.

“I was still shaking when I came home. I rang my dad and then rang my husband. Both of them were in shock. My boys were also in shock to know I was not going back to work.”

Mrs Higgs was dismissed after sharing a post on Facebook
Mrs Higgs was dismissed after sharing a post on Facebook (Christian Legal Centre/PA)

Mrs Higgs explained in her statement her religious beliefs.

“I believe that God created mankind as ‘male and female’ and what he has created is good. He does not make mistakes,” she said.

“I therefore do not believe in the modern ideas of gender fluidity and transgenderism. I did not think much about this issue until it was brought up in my younger son’s primary school.

“I knew that there were cross-dressers and that the practice of cross-dressing had been expressly condemned in the Bible.

“People cannot change something that has been established by God, such as their identity as a man or a woman.

“I am aware that same-sex marriages are now recognised under UK law, but I believe that is contrary to God’s law – which only recognises marriages between one man and one woman.”

She also shared a second post on the social media site
She also shared a second post on the social media site (Christian Legal Centre/PA)

The Christian Legal Centre is supporting Mrs Higgs’s case at the employment tribunal, which is being held in Bristol.

Lawyers representing Mrs Higgs will argue her sacking breached her freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

Describing the affect upon her, Mrs Higgs wrote: “For a long time after those events, I was scared to go anywhere in the town.

“Many people who worked at Farmor’s School would have known that I was dismissed for ‘gross misconduct’.

“Fairford is small town, and I felt like everybody knew what had happened to me.”

Under cross-examination, Mrs Higgs explained she was sharing on Facebook information she thought her friends and family would be interested in.

“I just don’t think what I did was wrong on social media,” she told the hearing.

“This is what I thought – they are brainwashing our children.

“I shared these posts for information and my Christian belief is that God says marriage is between a man and a woman.

“I don’t have anything against anyone who has chosen to have a same-sex marriage as that is law in many locations.”

Debbie Grennan, representing the school, suggested some of the language used in the messages Mrs Higgs shared was “extreme”.

“Do you believe that because of your religious views you can post anything you like, no matter how reactionary,” the barrister asked.

Mrs Higgs replied: “I believe that if it goes against the word of God people need to know about it.

“I love God but I also have to follow the law of the land, but it doesn’t mean I can’t disagree.”

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