School girls at a Roman Catholic secondary school have been told they must refer to transsexual pupils by their chosen gender.
In a letter sent out to parents last month, headteacher Marian Doyle claimed affirmation was needed as one of the “very basic gestures of welcoming respect”.
But the directive has sparked alarm, with one critic describing it as “profoundly depressing”.
A parent at the school said such a policy would be “very confusing”, while a commentator noted that Roman Catholic schools are expected to avoid modern ideologies.
Sacred Heart High School in Hammersmith, London, is an academy for girls aged between 11 and 19.
In a letter entitled “Transgender awareness”, Doyle stated that the school’s actions were forced by the Equality Act.
However, there is no law requiring people to agree with gender ideology and schools must offer “a balanced presentation of opposing views” on political issues.
The headteacher told parents the school should recognise a young person’s “intent to live as the person they believe God created them to be”.
And she said that “at a minimum”, people should be refraining from judgement, “using the young person’s preferred pronoun and addressing them with their preferred name”.
Speaking to the Catholic Herald, one parent said: “If the letter the headteacher sent out materialises as policy and practices, it will be very confusing for the young people at the school. I see it as a very dangerous letter.”
Hope and expectation
Caroline Farrow, a Roman Catholic commentator, said: “Parents choose to send their children to Catholic schools in the hope and expectation that they will receive a solid grounding” in their beliefs, and not be exposed to modern politically correct views.
“The betrayal is profoundly depressing”, she added.
The headteacher said the letter was “part of a lengthy process of consultation within and beyond the school”.
Last month it emerged that a couple had removed their six-year-old son from his Church of England school after it failed to consult with parents on new transsexualism rules.
Under the policy, children are deemed guilty of ‘transphobia’ if they fail to accept a transsexual child’s assumed sex, or experience ‘feelings of discomfort’ at another child being transsexual.
Nigel Rowe, the father involved, said: “We believe it is wrong to encourage very young children to embrace transgenderism. Boys are boys and girls are girls.”