JK Rowling’s name erased from school house over ‘viewpoints surrounding trans people’

JK Rowling’s name has been dropped from a school house over her “viewpoints surrounding trans people”.

The Boswells School in Chelmsford, Essex, a secondary school specialising in performing arts, had honoured the Harry Potter author by naming one of its in-school houses – associated with the quality of “self-discipline” – after her.

However, it has since emerged that over the summer she has been replaced by the Olympic athlete, Dame Kelly Holmes who has said she is “honoured” by the move and that it is “nice for a school to have a more diverse range of people” as role models.

According to the MailOnline, the school’s issues with the 56-year-old author were laid bare in a newsletter, seen by the news website, featuring an image of the house logo with her name erased.

It said: “The Boswells House System embeds a sense of community, friendship and healthy competition amongst both students and staff.

“A strong house identity empowers our students to participate and thrive in all aspects of school life, both in and out of the classroom. Here at the Boswells we have 6 Houses which are represented by British citizens who have excelled in an area of our Boswells Learning Bridge which includes integrity, emotional intelligence, grit, resourcefulness, self-discipline and bravery.

“However, following numerous requests by students and staff we are reviewing the name of our red house ‘Rowling’ and in light of J.K Rowling’s comments and viewpoints surrounding trans people. Her views on this issue do not align with our school policy and school beliefs – a place where people are free to be.

“Staff have been invited to put forward suggestions of names for the house. Once shortlisted a vote will go out to the whole school to select a new House name.”

The Boswells School in Chelmsford, Essex, is the latest school to involve itself in the JK Rowling trans row

One parent, who was not named by the website, described the move as “censorship”, saying: “JK Rowling is a good example of achievement through adversity.

“Not everyone thought she should go, a lot of schools seem to be doing the same thing at the moment sadly.”

Rowling has faced accusations of transphobia after she mocked an online article in June 2020 which used the words “people who menstruate” instead of “women”. She defended herself against the claims in a public essay and has faced criticism since.

It was previously claimed that she was a good choice for the school’s “self-discipline” themed house because “Rowling states that success takes constant practice, self-discipline and requires us to get up when we fail and try again.”

Responding to the change, Dame Kelly told The Telegraph: “I am always honoured when a school names a house after me. From an early age I was fortunate to know what pathway I wanted to take in my life and career.

“I hope my name represents determination, strength in adversity and a never give up attitude. JK Rowling is a brilliant world renowned author and should be credited for all the good she has done in the literature world to help young people in particular have vision, creativity, dreams and much more

“However, It is also nice for a school to have a more diverse range of people, as that inspires children to be who they want to be too.”

J K Rowling: timeline of a cultural phenomenon

Stephen Mansell, the headteacher at The Boswells School, said: “At The Boswells School we foster a vibrant, inclusive and democratic school community, where we encourage students to develop into independent, confident citizens.

“In autumn 2021, we reviewed and renamed one of our school houses following numerous requests from students and staff, as well as a whole school vote. The house, which represents the ‘Self Discipline’ area of the Boswells Learning Bridge, is now named Holmes, after Dame Kelly Holmes.”

Rowling erased from another school

The Boswells School house name change comes in the wake of another school erasing JK Rowling from house names.

Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School in Richmond, south west London, had previously named houses after Sir Winston Churchill, the former prime minister, and Rowling.

Claiming that pupils had asked for house names to be more diverse, it replaced Churchill and Rowling with Marcus Rashford, the English footballer who successfully lobbied the Government to extend free school meals, and Mary Seacole, the British-Jamaican nurse and businesswoman known for her medical work in the Crimean War.

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