The Telegraph is reporting this morning that pupils are facing “mask apartheid” after parents were told that children who refuse to wear one will have to sit at the back of the class. They will also be banned from eating lunch with their friends.
The government has recommended that all secondary school students wear face coverings during class, but it is not legally enforceable. Schools were told that students who refused to wear a mask, or take a twice weekly rapid covid test, must not be sent home.
But, according to The Telegraph today:
….parents fear their children will be discriminated against and forced to miss out on lessons if they come to school without a face mask.
Pupils at The Stonehenge School in Amesbury, Wiltshire were told that if they refuse to wear masks they will be “asked to sit near open doors or windows and must understand that their peers may not wish to sit with or work with them”.
Meanwhile, students at The Warwick School in Redhill, Surrey were advised that if they do not wear a mask in the classroom, the school will “make alternative arrangements” for them to continue learning “where we can maintain social distancing”.
Another secondary school said pupils without masks will have to enter the school through a separate entrance and sit at a table alone at the back of the class by an open window. They will also be banned from sitting with their peers at lunch time and blocked from group activities such as PE lessons, drama or after-school clubs.
One parent said: “I am appalled and feel blackmailed into accepting these measures so that my children can partake in exercise, class learning and their social groups at school.”
Coombe School for Girls in London warned parents that girls who came to school without a mask would be sent home to get one. Park Academy, also in London, told youngsters that if they arrived without a mask, they’d have to wait outside until one was brought for them. Failing that, they’d have to go home.
This is outrageous. The government was explicit in telling head teachers that children who refused to wear a mask could neither be sent home, nor discriminated against. Allyson Pollock, a professor of public health at the Newcastle University told The Telegraph:
“This is not informed consent, its coercion and other harms are emerging as a result – psychological trauma, isolation, segregation stigmatising children and its a form of abuse and harassment and intimidation of children and parents.”