- The Magazine
A British elementary school’s pride event had to be made private after parents threatened to protest a planned parade.
Heavers Farm Primary School created a “Proud to be Me!” parade for students to celebrate London’s pride week and offered parents the opportunity to join their children in the celebration.
However, the headteacher decided to privatize the event last-minute after receiving warnings from parents saying they were going to protest the event. Instead, an assembly and smaller parade were held in the morning and parents were invited in the afternoon to learn how the school was promoting diversity and inclusion.
Susan Papas, headteacher of Heavers Farm said to the Evening Standard that some of the parents felt “the school is shoving LGBT issues down the kids’ throats” and this protest takes the school “back decades.”
“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,” she said. “But some parents aren’t happy with the term LGBT and don’t want their children knowing about these terms or what they mean.”
She added: “We have had so many messages of support from many parents who are quite cross about this minority who they feel are spreading hateful messages.”
Erica Chamberlain said that her five-year-old daughter Scarlett was heartbroken when she was not able to take part in the parade.
“She’d been really excited about it, and what she was going to wear to it, so we were really disappointed,” she said, adding that “the very nature of a Pride parade is to be proud — not celebrate it quietly and non-publicly.”
Another parent added that the parade was “teaching the kids love has no label and celebrating love in all its forms.”
One mother who was unhappy with the parade said she removed her daughter from school prior to the event.
“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,” she said. “I want to be able to educate my child on these things, it’s not just a matter of religion or our religious beliefs. We were going to write to the MP about it anyway but he turned up in the morning. So where can we go?”
Steve Reed, Labour Member of Parliament for Croydon North, tweeted while attending the event, saying: “With the wonderful staff and children at Heavers Farm for their Pride celebration — very proud of them for standing up for equality and diversity.”
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!