People who identify as LGBT say they have “never felt more vulnerable” in Birmingham, following protests against same-sex relationship education.
Some Muslim parents have been protesting since January against the No Outsiders programme at Parkfield Community School in Alum Rock.
A West Midlands Police officer said the protests did not constitute a hate crime despite coming “very close”.
LGBT community members expressed disappointment in the police response.
More than 100 people attended an open meeting on Thursday in Birmingham’s gay village, the majority of whom agreed they felt increasingly threatened, anxious and frightened.
Birmingham LGBT said it had recorded a rise in hate crime. However, Insp Matt Crowley said protests outside Parkfield school did not constitute a crime, despite coming “very close to that line”.
He said policing “hadn’t been perfect” but the force took hate crime “very seriously”.
For several weeks, parents, mostly of Muslim faith, have been calling on the school to scrap the programme that teaches children about same sex couples through story books.
They believe the subject was “undermining parental rights and authority” and said the lessons were “toxic” and “disgusting”.
Four other Birmingham schools have also stopped teaching No Outsiders following complaints by parents.
The city’s Anderton Park Primary School – which does not teach the programme – was the scene of a ninth day of protests on Thursday, by parents concerned about the teaching of LGBT issues.
Action is also spreading further afield, with parents in Greater Manchester protesting to remove their children from sex and relationship lessons over fears they will be taught about same-sex couples.
Ch Insp Sarah Tambling told Thursday’s meeting that police “are not the right people to sort this out – there needs to be a partnership”.
She apologised to the group, the majority of whom raised their hands when she asked if they felt increasingly vulnerable in Birmingham.
Andrew Moffat, the school’s deputy head teacher who devised the programme, said the school was now re-engaging with parents and a meeting had been held on Thursday afternoon.
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