A woman sacked from her job as a school assistant after flagging up concerns about the teaching of LGBTQ+ rights has told a tribunal it was her Christian duty to speak out to defend the “Bible truth”.
Kristie Higgs, 44, was dismissed for gross misconduct by the state secondary school where she worked in 2019 after sharing and commenting on social media posts about relationship education proposed for the primary school of one of her sons.
Higgs said her faith as a Christian meant she had no choice but to make her feelings known and told the tribunal in Bristol that she was shocked to be dismissed and frightened to go out because she worried that everyone in her small Gloucestershire town would know she had been sacked.
The mother of two shared and commented on Facebook posts in 2018 about the No Outsiders programme, an approach to diversity and inclusion for primary schools.
“I was concerned that a lot of parents all over the country and the world simply did not know what was going on,” Higgs said in a statement submitted to the 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 Farmor’s school in Fairford, where Higgs worked, and she was dismissed for gross misconduct.
She told of her shock at being suspended from the school. “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.”
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 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.”
Describing the effect of her dismissal, 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. Fairford is small town, and I felt like everybody knew what had happened to me.”
Debbie Grennan, representing the school, suggested some of the language used in the messages 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.
Higgs replied: “I believe that if it goes against the word of God people need to know about it.”
The Christian Legal Centre is supporting Higgs’s case. Her lawyers will argue her sacking breached her freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
The tribunal continues.