Monday, May 20, 2024
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Legal challenge to classroom masks


ALL power to the elbow of the volunteer group UsforThem. They are seeking a judicial review into the Government’s ‘recommendation’ that secondary school pupils in England must wear masks in class. They are rightly infuriated by the latest government guidance which has for once ignored its expert advice, that the benefits do not outweigh the harms, that we reported on just last week. The truth is they shouldn’t need such obvious evidence – you have to be totally insensitive not to see the harm this constant masking is doing to our children.

Thankfully it seems parents at least are not so cold blooded after all and there seems to be something of a public awakening – a sign of a shift in their mood comes in a recent survey reporting that 60 per cent of parents disagree with the invidious masks in class policy. 

On Saturday UsforThem gave the Secretary of State for Education forewarning, informing him that they were seeking a judicial review of this policy. 

Their letter to him points out that:

The pandemic has had a ‘profound impact’ on children and that it is ‘imperative’ that steps are taken to aid their mental and physical recovery; that the Education Secretary has failed to consider the impact on children’s wellbeing of largely continuous mask wearing for up to ten hours per day’ and that ‘to make this decision at this stage is to make a decision that no reasonable public body would make in all the circumstances . . . there is no rational basis to introduce this precaution at this stage. There is apparently no credible scientific evidence to support it and at the same time a large – and growing – volume of evidence which shows its harmful impact.’

The guidance on face masks in the classroom is ‘plainly discriminatory’, the letter also says, since it puts children with special education needs at a ‘significant’ disadvantage.’

They are asking for immediate withdrawal of the guidance sent out on January 2, 2022 requiring masks in class.

They have the support of a number Tory MPs and peers including Sir Graham Brady MP, chair of the 1922 committee of backbenchers, Robert Halfon MP, chair of the education select committee, Marcus Fysh MP, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on education, Steve Baker MP, Baroness Fox, Baroness Morrissey and Lord Moonie. Academics who are supporting them include Professor Ellen Townsend (Professor of Psychology, Nottingham University), Professor Carl Heneghan (Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, Oxford University) and Professor Dennis Hayes (Professor of Education, University of Derby). It would be good to see even more names rallying to this cause.

Let us pray that Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi shows he does have some compassion and understanding for once, and will use his powerful presence not against children but against the oppressive teachers unions, and that it won’t have to come to the huge expense of a legal challenge to make him change his mind.

In the meanwhile please do sign this petition – which is still short of the 10,000 needed of Parliament to respond – to get compulsory wearing of face masks on public transport and in shops revoked altogether. They make no difference and have the negative effect of reinforcing an unthinking compliance with an unjustified fear narrative. It should be matter of personal choice, not a matter of mandate, whether individuals chose to wear one or not.

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Edited by Kathy Gyngell

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