Schools receive legal warning over guidance on LGBT pupils
SCOTTISH local authorities and schools could face legal action over “controversial and misleading” guidance on dealing with transgender pupils.
The Christian Institute (CI) has sent letters to 17 authorities asking what steps they took to check whether the guidance reflected equality law and the Human Rights Act.
Lawyers acting for the i nstitute expressed “significant concerns” about the guidance published late last year.
CI spokesman Simon Calvert said: “The Scottish Government withdrew its endorsement of the guidance when we pointed out the legal errors in it. Now it’s time for councils to pull the plug on it too.”
The document, “Supporting Transgender Young People: Guidance For Schools in Scotland”, says teachers should not tell parents if their child changes gender in school unless the child gives permission. It also states school staff must inform local authorities of parents who “struggle” with their child’s transgender identity.
The guidelines were produced by LGBT Youth Scotland and say schoolchildren as young as four “should be supported to explore and express their identity regardless of their age”. They also say parents should not be told if their child has to share a bedroom on a school trip with an opposite sex pupil who claims to be transgender.
The guidance had carried the endorsement of the Scottish Government. However, when the institute set out the concerns, the Government asked for the immediate removal of its endorsement.
The letter to local authorities states: “Your council has endorsed this guidance. However, it contains some key errors and omissions which mean the guidance is liable to mislead schools as to their rights and duties.
“This could lead to unnecessary legal action against schools and the council.”
An accompanying letter, sent to the Scottish Government, contains detailed objections to the guidance.
It states: “Teachers and schools will be misled into thinking that equality law gives absolute rights to transgender people to the exclusion of the rights of other service users.”
On the rights of parents it says: “Parents have the right to be kept informed by a school of matters relating to their child’s development and wellbeing.”
The Christian Institute (CI) sent letters to authorities over equality laws