A schoolgirl is suing a school for “forcing” students to wear face masks that she says “run the risk of seriously harming children” to their physical and mental health.
The student is suing the Tapton Academy School Trust, which runs a number of primary and secondary schools in the Sheffield area, for preventing them from ‘requiring or encouraging’ children to wear masks in school to prevent the spread of Covid-19 .
The 12-year-old, known only as AB, who is exempt from wearing a mask at school, says wearing a mask can lead to “ long-term ” damage.
But the trust states that it only encourages the wearing of masks, in accordance with government guidelines, to protect children, staff and visitors.
The trust also says that 120 staff from the various schools, representing more than 10 percent of the total staff, have contracted coronavirus since late August last year.
A schoolgirl is suing a school for ‘requiring’ students to wear face masks that she says are ‘at risk of seriously harming children’ to their physical and mental health (photo in an archive of students wearing face masks in a classroom) )
At a remote hearing, AB’s attorneys asked the Supreme Court for a preliminary injunction that prevented her school and its trust from having children wear masks.
Francis Hoar, AB representative, told the court, “School policies risk seriously damaging children to their physical and mental health.”
Mr. Hoar added, ‘If the trust had done its job properly … it would have gathered evidence and reached a position on the effectiveness of this particular measure, but nothing like that it has done.
“There is actually no evidence of the efficacy of these tools that are supposedly necessary to prevent the risk of transmission of the virus.”
He argued in written submissions: ‘The available evidence shows that not only is there no additional risk of transmission of the virus in school settings, but that the risk compared to an ordinary social or work environment is likely to be lower given the extremely low prevalence of the virus in schools. ‘
Mr Hoar accepted that AB did not have to wear a mask at school, but added: ‘The child is still faced with a school environment where a child, other than those who are disabled, would prefer to wear masks, and that is being maintained, says the child aggressive. ‘
But Ben Bentley, who represented the trust, told the court that “the trust policy is to encourage, not enforce, the wearing of masks.”
He said the trust had conducted a ‘pretty good’ risk assessment and encouraged students and staff to wear masks, in part to help prevent the transmission of coronavirus in the wider community.
Mr. Bentley told the court: “Employees of the trust, the age range is from 18 to 75. Of the 1,000 employees of the trust, 120, ie more than 10%, have contracted Covid-19 since August 31, 2020.”
He added that the request for a ban was made by “one plaintiff in the school where, we are told, there are 1,000 students.”
In a remote hearing today, AB’s attorneys asked the Supreme Court, in the photo, to grant a preliminary injunction prohibiting her school and the trust from allowing children to wear masks (photo file)
Mr. Bentley said, “The trust has provided you with evidence that it has not received any other formal written complaints … from students or staff regarding its policy of wearing face masks.”
He also said preventing the trust from encouraging students and staff to wear masks could lead to further legal action from students who supported the policy.
‘Should the court today issue a court order that obliges the school to discontinue its policy, or if, for example, the school were to discontinue the policy voluntarily, against the advice of the Secretary of State for Education, it would be the case that another child comes forward, or another staff member comes forward and asks for a similar order to require the school to enforce the policy because of their concerns, ”said Mr Bentley.
The case is being conducted by Laworfiction and other leading attorneys involved in legal challenges to the government’s response to Covid-19.
They said in a statement: ‘We are not only against the forced wearing of masks by children, but against any measures that harm our children, the nation, the NHS and the economy and that are irrational or not justified by evidence.
At the end of the hearing, Judge Roger ter Haar QC said he would give his verdict at a later date.