11 June 2020

School drops plans to name house after JK Rowling amid transphobia row

11 June 2020

A school in Sussex has dropped plans to name a house after JK Rowling following “offensive” tweets.

The Harry Potter author has been at the centre of a Twitter row over comments about transgender people.

The Weald school in Billingshurst, West Sussex, had been due to name a house after Rowling, but now says the idea had been scrapped.

In a letter to parents and students on Wednesday, deputy headteacher Sarah Edwards said: “In recent days it has come to light that one of our new names may in fact no longer be an appropriate role model for our community.

“JK Rowling has tweeted some messages which are considered to be offensive to the LGBT+ community (specifically, trans-phobic) and we feel that we do not wish to be associated with these views.”

Instead the house will be named Blackman, in honour of celebrated author Malorie Blackman.

Ms Edwards said: “Malorie Blackman is a prolific author of children’s and young adult literature, writer of television and radio dramas, was the Children’s Laureate between 2013-2015 and uses her writing as a way of exploring social and ethical issues.

“We feel that she fits the bill as an excellent replacement for a modern-day female author, so that we retain our aim of having acombination of historical and modern significant figures.”

The school, which caters to students aged 11-18, had last month announced new names for all five of its houses and the addition of a sixth to take affect from September.

The others will be named: DaVinci, Seacole, Mercury, Attenborough, and Thompson.

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