THE Covid years were hell for schoolchildren and teenagers. Apart from being terrified that they might kill their granny, they endured mandatory lockdowns, masking and PCR testing. Montgomery Toms, from north London, was 14 years old and living in Lincolnshire in 2020 when the UK declared a Covid pandemic, and 18 years old when restrictions were finally lifted. He says that he saw his generation being ‘dismantled’.
Monty was taught to question everything by his parents who have degrees in psychology and philosophy. He challenged pandemic measures, refused PCR tests, and said no to masks. He says he was ridiculed, ostracised, and criticised by his teachers and peers; he endured over a year of daily playground confrontations, but although he became tired, and lonely, he never gave in.
His psychologist mother Linda Doe, 58, and father Paul Toms, a philosopher and computer programmer, also 58, supported his rebellion and could not be prouder of it. He has an older sister, 22, who felt the same but wasn’t as active, and he has found love with Nazarin Veronica, 22, who took part in the BBC2 documentary Unvaccinated.
Here is Monty’s story as he told it to me.
I can’t put a finger on the moment everything changed but when we went back to school in June, after the March 2020 lockdown, I knew I wasn’t going to be wearing a mask. I couldn’t explain why until I was about 15 and a half. Then I realised masks were about control, not our safety. None of the data supported mask wearing.
I saw the masks as a social experiment, a testing ground: ‘If we can get people to wear a mask, then what else can we get them to do?’ It was so illogical, it was so unscientific and there were videos of Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance saying there was no evidence to show that masks worked.
Back at school, we faced a new set of rules. No turning around in class, but you could sit next to someone. No sharing equipment. Seating plans so that they would know who was in contact with who. No electric fans at the back of the classroom so that they could not push particles around. No shouting or singing for the same reason. One-way systems.
I have a Jewish background so my whole family are on the spectrum of being alert and awake. My aunt, when she went into a shop, wouldn’t claim mask exemption, she’d say, ‘I’m from Jewish heritage and have family who were victims of the Holocaust. I am not showing my papers.’
When I was about 15, I really started to wake up to the World Economic Forum (WEF) and their Great Reset. In history, my teacher was talking about Hitler’s rise to power, and I drew parallels to exactly what was happening with Covid. She stood there in a mask, with hand sanitiser stations around her, and on the back of every computer screen, it said ‘Get Your Vaccination Now’, for a virus with a 99.9 per cent recovery rate in under-18s. That’s the level of propaganda that was in schools.
She started lecturing me about how Hitler used propaganda to persuade the German public into voting for him. I said, ‘Miss, just out of interest can you not see the irony in this scenario? Can you not see how blatantly obvious it is that the same thing is happening now?’
I had teachers who laughed at me and mocked me. When I went into maths, I asked my teacher to look at data and compare no lockdowns in Sweden with lockdowns in the UK. He just laughed in my face and said, ‘I think you need to go away and do some real research.’ (Sweden had a 0.09 per cent death rate before the Covid vaccination was introduced in January 2021. The UK had a 0.14 per cent death rate during the same period, 55 per cent higher.)
I passed seven GCSEs, but teachers were put in charge of allocating our grades. I was predicted to get an A in history, but my teacher gave me a 5 (C).
My mum realised early on that our behaviour was being nudged and my dad is very scientifically minded, and he strives for free will. He thought lockdowns were morally and scientifically wrong, so it was interesting to have them as my influence. I was bound to fight back.
Before lockdowns hit, I remember sitting in science class having conversations with people and we were saying, ‘it’s just the flu, it doesn’t matter’: everyone was so logical about it. Then I returned after lockdown and people still thought the same but were captured by the fear. The whole psychology had shifted because of the government propaganda.
For the rest of year 10, and the whole of year 11, I faced daily confrontations in the playground. Because I didn’t wear a mask, students would cluster around me. I remember one time when I was cornered by seven people saying, ‘you’re a granny killer. You’re responsible for killing your grandfather.’ Well, my grandfather’s not dead but I knew what they were trying to get at.
It was groupthink, classic bullying tactics. And if you’re going to pick on someone, pick on a minority. I’ve been told by some people that I was bullied, and I always say, no, I was never bullied. I didn’t see these people as a threat or a worry to me. I saw it as annoying and alienating and isolating, I can’t deny that. I’m not Superman by any means. When you’re constantly having to dignify yourself and explain yourself, it was wearing and constant. There was no day when I went in and I wasn’t watching my back.
At 16, I went to college. The thing about college is that you’re older and I was praying that everything would be over. Then my college chose – they didn’t do it through government mandate – they made the decision to bring masks in. They took me into a meeting and said if you’re not wearing a mask, we want you to wear a visor. I said no.
The minute they did that, I remember feeling so deflated. I thought, ‘I really don’t know if I want to do this. I need to make a decision. Do I keep my head down or should I be as vocal as I was?’ I chose the latter, I was vocal.
I took down every ‘hands, face, space’ poster. I bust up the sanitiser stations. I’d put White Rose stickers around college. (One White Rose sticker said ‘hands, face, embrace’.) I pulled my socks up and went back in with that soldier mentality. The only way I can describe it is stoicism based on logic over feelings.
I started to realise I’d lost some of the prime years of my life. I was taking on the education system in my microworld which should be about being a child and having fun.
I listened to my parents, or any adult talk about what they were doing when they were 14. It was exciting. You’re discovering who you are. You’re enjoying being a child, you’re a teenager but you’re effectively a child. I had that taken away from me. People say well that’s your fault, you chose to stand up and say no. I saw it as I had a responsibility, and someone had to.
I didn’t consider caving in; it was never on the cards. I never showed that side of me within school or college. It was only when I was on the bus home or when I was in my bedroom after a long day. That’s when it caught up with me and I realised how withdrawn I was from my generation. And from my childhood.
In the beginning it was exciting. I felt like a little warrior. People who were awake, and my family, were saying, ‘Wow, Monty, you’re so strong’. A few months into it I was getting tired. I started to realise I was alienated; I was lonely, and I’d lost some of the prime years of my life. I can forgive my generation, but it’s mighty hard to forgive the adults, especially the ones who were demonising me.