Safe Schools Alliance are appalled by the leaked draft guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission on trans pupils in Scottish schools.
In June we sent the EHRC a letter signed by 150 concerned parents and educators, raising our concerns that current schools guidance – which is written in partnership with trans lobby groups – misrepresents the Equality Act, puts trans-identified children at risk, and ignores safeguarding principles. We asked them to hold a public consultation on their draft guidance and to make public their Equality Impact Assessments, and who was advising them.
The EHRC replied that they had already consulted widely. They said had ‘carefully considered the impact on people sharing different protected characteristics and sought to provide a balanced, practical and inclusive approach for schools to follow’.
This draft document does not allay our concerns in any way. We completely agree with Fair Play for Women’s analysis of it and are alarmed to read that a pupil’s trans status should be kept a secret from other pupils and their parents. While this may seem inclusive, it ignores both safeguarding best practice and the principle of informed consent. If pupils and their families become aware that the school allowed pupils who would not ordinarily change or sleep next to a member of the opposite sex (for privacy, dignity, safeguarding, religious or trauma-related reasons) to be put in that position unknowingly, then it will be clear to all those children that the school is not concerned about consent, nor does it place any value on the children’s boundaries and needs.
We are also disturbed to read that teachers should exclude children from the changing room of their own sex if they are not comfortable with a member of the opposite sex changing with them, that teachers should be disciplined for using the ‘wrong’ pronoun, and that schools should be forced to provide evidence to show why a male pupil should not take the place of a girl on a school sports team.
The EHRC clearly has not listened to the voices of the concerned parents and teachers who would have to deal with the fallout if these policies are put into practice.
Please contact your MP if you are concerned about this.