Lawyers acting for a Charedi father have written to the Department for Education alleging that the Government is violating his human rights by requiring teachers to teach his children about different genders and sexualities.
Representatives of Shraga Stern, a director of a London-based construction firm whose children attend an independent school, lodged the allegations in a letter to Education Secretary Damian Hinds MP and Education Minister Nick Gibb MP.
In their 19-page letter, they said the Government’s advice about how schools should teach “protected characteristics” had “violated [Stern’s] rights under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights”.
Stern has taken issue with the Government’s 2018 advice, covering the Independent Schools Standards, that people identifying as LGBT+ are “equally valid”.
The advice requires the “active promotion of respect for other people, even if they hold views, choose to follow a lifestyle, or have protected characteristics, different from a pupil’s own or those prevalent in the pupil’s immediate community”.
It adds: “Respect does not require agreement – it requires acceptance that other people may be different and that that is equally valid”.
In response, Stern’s lawyers said: “We note in particular the phrase that different ways of life may be ‘equally valid’. This statement goes to the heart of the ethical worldview taught by a faith school. Belief in God and in a religious way of life distinguishes between action that is morally good and action that is sin.”
They added: “The Draft Advice goes beyond requiring toleration and in effect challenges the very essence of religious belief.”