This week, it was revealed that a teenage girl was hounded out of a private Home Counties school for questioning why transgender beliefs are not debated more openly. Her story emerged in articles on the website of Transgender Trend, a parents’ group challenging trans orthodoxy, written by a music teacher at the school who was so upset by what happened to her that he decided bravely to blow the whistle.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling condemned the ‘shameful treatment’ of the sixth former who dared speak out on one of the biggest controversies of the modern age. Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi called the school’s behaviour ‘unacceptable’ and is to meet the girl and the teacher next week. Here the teacher, JOHN JAMES, gives his disturbing account of what happened — and how it exposes the terrifying grip trans ideology now has on our education system . . .
Every so often an event occurs that reveals the stranglehold of transgender ideology on our schools and society. One such event happened recently at the girls’ secondary where I teach.
An 18-year-old pupil who dared to question the ideology was surrounded and shouted at by a group of fellow sixth formers in an incident that forced her to leave the school.
Her crime? To suggest to a visiting baroness from the House of Lords that transgender-sceptical views, such as the belief that biological sex is real, deserve balanced debate.
It was probably naïve of the girl not to realise that to disagree, however respectfully, with transgender ideology is not allowed in much of our education system today. To question its basic tenets is heresy and heretics need to be exposed, attacked and got rid of. Even if they are such notable figures as J.K.Rowling. These tenets sometimes include the trans language that women are ‘uterus havers’, ‘people with vaginas’, or ‘chest-feeders’. And the concept that the birth sex of male and female is a myth.
After daring to challenge the baroness, who had joined a sixth form transgender rights’ discussion, up to 60 other pupils gathered round the girl and verbally attacked her.
This week, it was revealed that a teenage girl was hounded out of a private Home Counties school for questioning why transgender beliefs are not debated more openly
They screamed abuse so loudly that she ran away from them to escape, before collapsing unable to breathe properly with the shock of it all. By the next day, tales about the incident spread down to lower years. I was told by one of my younger pupils during an individual lesson that a sixth form girl had been saying horrible transphobic things.
It was chilling to witness first-hand how this ideology had rooted and grown in my school. What is known these days as a ‘woke pile-on’ had taken place.
Otherwise perfectly nice and agreeable sixth formers had colluded and congregated to show they were on the moral high ground, the ‘right side of history’. Any waverers got the clearest message about what would happen to them if they didn’t conform. Initially, the girl won support from the sixth form head. But after sustained pressure from the attackers, this teacher changed her position.
She publicly apologised for not providing a ‘safe space’ for them. In a pronouncement to her pupils (which I believe was written or approved by senior management) she said hate speech in the school was unacceptable.
Little was mentioned of the right to free speech. The girl, who after the incident had been asked to work alone in the library (for her own safety), says she was later told by the head: ‘How can the testimony of an entire group of other students be wrong? I have to support them, too.’
Sadly this sort of affair will be repeated again and again if we fail to see what the ideology is — and the way it operates. It is not that any individual is particularly to blame. The sixth form head was almost broken in two by the aftermath of the attack on the girl.
She was in an untenable position, in a sense a victim herself.
It takes a very strong, sure-minded teacher to combat the powerful transgender ideology permeating schools, a person who is prepared to risk losing their job and career. There are now infamous examples of what happens to perceived non-conformers in the education system.
A maths teacher at an Oxfordshire secondary school was suspended after he ‘accidentally’ called a transgender pupil a girl when the student identifies as a boy. And remember Kathleen Stock, the Sussex University philosophy professor, who resigned after a poster and graffiti protest by students demanding her dismissal over her critical views on gender identification?
When I inquired a couple of weeks back as to how our ‘heretic’ sixth former was doing (having not seen her around), I had a strong sense that I was committing some kind of crime by even posing the question.
I was asked why I wanted to know. I was informed that she was ‘no longer in the system’, that the ‘matter had been dealt with’, and that ‘we’re not talking about it’.
This, to be fair, may be simply because sensitive matters these days are always handled on a ‘need to know’ basis. But I have since discussed it with several sixth and fifth form pupils, on an individual basis. All admitted privately they couldn’t really see what was wrong with what the girl had said that day.
I even spoke to one of the girls at the centre of the ‘outraged group’ who took on the role of chief spokesperson. She admitted they had gone too far and that she regretted it. Without any prompting, she added that there is a lot of ideology around the transgender issue and that it should be properly debated. Good on her for saying this.
Regardless of my official role in the school, I make it my business to warn my pupils of the danger of group-think, whatever form it may take.
About four years ago, members of the trans-rights organisation Mermaids were invited to give a lecture at the school.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling condemned the ‘shameful treatment’ of the sixth former who dared speak out on one of the biggest controversies of the modern age
Shortly after the visit, two sixth form leaders took it upon themselves to organise a ‘day of silence’ in support of LGBTQ. Virtually all the pupils took part.
Yet some seemed quite relieved when I excused them of their ‘duty’ to be silent during my individual music lessons.
I said I thought it would be more productive if I gave them a few minutes at the start to explain why they were doing the silent protest. None of them really could. One said it was because everyone else was. Another that she felt she would be making a ‘statement’ if she didn’t join in.
Following the attack on the 18-year-old, I asked in the staff canteen what everyone thought of the ‘heretic’ girl and what had happened to her. I was met with stony silence and furtive glances. It was as if I had asked: ‘Hands up all those who voted for Brexit.’
One teacher whispered to me later: ‘You can think what you like, but be careful of the pronouns you use.’
After working in this all-girls’ secondary school for three decades, I have witnessed the sudden emergence of gender dysphoria [the distress that can occur in people whose gender identity differs from their biological sex] in only the past three or four years. And I’ve observed how any conversation on the issue seems to be ‘shut down’ among staff and pupils.
There is a very real fear of being accused of transphobia.
Who of us, working in education, can afford to be accused of cruelty towards, or a lack of care and compassion for, the growing phenomenon of the ‘transgender’ child? Schools can also be made to feel guilty if they are not accredited ‘champions’ of Stonewall, the leading transgender rights’ lobby organisation. My school is one that has signed up for this, although the trans ideology would have found its way in anyway.
It is clear, however, that the invitation to Mermaids to come in and educate both staff and pupils on the issues seems to have speeded up the process.
Why would pupils doubt experts invited into the school by senior management? It seems the more the ideology spreads, the more wicked the crime of transphobia becomes, and the easier it is to fall into the trap of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person.
We, as teachers, are now walking around on eggshells. Speak the truth and you are an evil transphobe. Don’t speak the truth and you are living what many secretly feel is a lie. Groups such as Mermaids like to advise us of our ‘duty of care’ when dealing with the transgender issue in our schools.
This has an intimidating effect right through the school from the senior managers downwards.
Isn’t it more the case that by kow-towing to ideology and by inviting in activists and propagandists as opposed to genuine educators, we are failing in our duty of care? I said to a girl recently who had opened up about her troubles during an individual lesson: ‘Look, just because you played with dinosaurs instead of dolls when you were little, and just because you prefer watching Doctor Who to Love Island, it doesn’t mean that you’re a boy.’
We, as teachers, are effectively being told that if we question trans ideology we are child abusers. What if the problem is the other way round?
If an ideology is telling a 13-year-old girl, who is all over the place over ‘Who Am I?’ and ‘Do You Love Me?’, that it’s fine to take puberty blockers and have your breasts removed, then it seems pretty sinister to me. Especially if it had nothing whatsoever to do with compassion and concern for children. No reasonable person can deny that racism, sexism, homophobia, issues with Islam and Islamophobia and, yes, transphobia are real and sensitive moral and social concerns. But woke is a form of toxic ideology that seems to be actually feeding off these issues.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi called the school’s behaviour ‘unacceptable’ and is to meet the girl and the teacher next week
It will rampage through our society unless it is understood and opposed. If people do nothing, it will find its way into all institutions of the Establishment, including the highest courts of the land.
There is no excuse to try to brush these things under the carpet and hope they won’t resurface again. They surely will and we have a collective responsibility to seize authority over the situation.
I know that the ‘heretic’ girl is not transphobic. She has a close friend whom she respectfully refers to as ‘they/them’ because her friend identifies as non-binary (which means having a gender identity that is not simply male or female).
And it is interesting that some of those fired-up pupils who attacked her on that day have, in hindsight, somewhat changed their positions.
However, it is too late to help the girl who was most wounded. The damage to her is done. She has chosen to depart the school and is now preparing for her A-levels at home.
She has been in touch with me, heartbroken about what has happened.
‘How can they sit so smugly with themselves when my whole life has been turned upside down?’ she says of her accusers.
Her mother has also said of her daughter’s plight: ‘We were sad to think that after all these years in the school, she left and nobody even batted an eyelid. We are still picking up the pieces.’
Let us hope they will.
- To protect the teacher’s identity, we have changed his name. This article has been edited by Sue Reid with the permission of Transgender Trend from pieces written by him for its website.
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