TEACHERS must not be “shutting down debate” or imposing their woke views on kids, Rishi Sunak has warned after a pupil was scolded for saying there are only two genders.
The PM waded into the row at Rye College where a staff member called a teenage girl’s opinions “despicable” because she disagreed that a classmate could identify as a cat.
A recording of the tense conversation has sparked fury from campaigners accusing the East Sussex school of gagging open discussion.
Asked about the storm today, Mr Sunak’s spokesman said: “Teachers have a responsibility to encourage their students to engage respectfully with those they disagree with.
“They should also not be teaching contested opinions as fact or shutting down valid discussions and debates.
“It’s important that parents and carers are reassured that children aren’t being influenced by the personal views of those teaching them.
“Any examples that strays from this would be wrong, and we would expect headteachers to act.”
Downing Street would not say whether they regarded the teacher’s actions as a “sackable offence” and is leaving the matter with the school.
Rye College has since said it is “committed to offering our pupils an inclusive education” but that teachers aim to answer questions “sensitively and honestly”.
A spokesman said: “We will be reviewing our processes and working with the relevant individuals to ensure such events do not take place in the future.”
In the four-minute bust-up the teacher reprimands the pupil: “[You need a] proper educational conversation about equality, diversity and inclusion,” before threatening to report her to senior staff.”
She says: “ said: “How dare you? You just really upset someone, saying things like [you] should be in an asylum.”
The girl responded: “I didn’t say that, I just said if they want to identify as a cow or something, then they are genuinely unwell, and they’re crazy.”
The teacher, who hasn’t been named, replied: “You were questioning their identity “Where did you get this idea from that there are only two genders?”
The pupil hit back: “I just said my opinion. If I can respect their opinion, can’t they respect mine?”
Linking the girl’s attitude to “homophobia”, the staff member added: “It is not an opinion, if you don’t like it, you need to go to a different school.”
The government’s long-awaited trans guidance for schools is due to be published shortly.
We revealed this week it will order teachers to get parent’s permission to acknowledge a child’s transition.