A school in Britain's second largest city of Birmingham has decided to indefinitely suspend lessons on normalizing gay marriage in the face of continued protests by Muslim parents who believe the program is harmful for their children.
Parkfield community school in Birmingham’s Saltley said on Thursday that the so-called No Outsiders lessons, which parents say had been aimed at promoting gay and transgender lifestyles, would be suspended until a resolution is reached on the controversial issue.
“Until a resolution has been reached, No Outsiders lessons will not be taught at Parkfield and we hope that children will not be removed from school to take part in protests,” the school said in a statement.
"Nothing is more important than ensuring our children’s education continues uninterrupted,” it added.
The decision comes after weeks of protests by parents who are angry at the school’s focus on teaching anti-homophobia materials.
On Friday about 600 Muslim children, aged between four and 11, were withdrawn from the school for the day, parents said. The school would not confirm the number.
The parents say the school is “exploiting the innocence of the children” by “indoctrinating” them about odd lifestyles.
The Guardian newspaper said in a report in January that officials in Parkfield were ignoring parents’ demands for dropping the lessons and even forced the assistant headteacher of the school to defend the No Outsiders program.
Parkfield had said previously that it would continue offering the lessons after the Easter holidays, prompting parents to promise more protests.
The decision to suspend the lesson comes as the UK authorities have mostly sought to disrespect the will of the Muslim parents about the way their children should be taught in British schools.
The education watchdog Ofsted has even praised Parkfield record on promoting “tolerance” while rating the school among the “outstanding” education institutions in Britain.