JK Rowling trans row: School renames house over trans tweets

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image copyrightPA Media
image captionJK Rowling said she spoke out due to her own experience of abuse

A school has dropped plans to name one of its houses after JK Rowling in response to the Harry Potter author's tweets about transgender women.

The Weald School in Billingshurst, West Sussex, said it did "not wish to be associated with these views".

Deputy headteacher Sarah Edwards said the author "may in fact no longer be an appropriate role model" for pupils.

She has denied being motivated by hatred, but said she was concerned about protecting safe spaces for women.

image copyrightGoogle
image captionThe school house will now be named after Malorie Blackman, instead of JK Rowling

In a letter to parents, Mrs Edwards said: "The Weald is a school which always seeks to be inclusive of people across all of the protected characteristics, and we would not want to cause offence, even inadvertently."

Mrs Edwards told the BBC the decision to drop Rowling House "doesn't mean we take a viewpoint on either side" on transgender issues, but that the author's contribution to the debate did not meet their ethos of inclusivity.

"As a school, our business is education, it's not about coming down on one side or another," she said.

One of the six houses at the community school, which has around 1,750 pupils, will instead be named after Noughts & Crosses author Malorie Blackman.

From September, the school is to rename all houses "to make them more representative of gender, ethnicity and sexuality/gender identity".

Other houses are to be named after Queen star Freddie Mercury, nurse Mary Seacole and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, winner of 11 Paralympic gold medals.

Houses were previously named Austen, Darwin, Elgar, Livingstone and Wilberforce.

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