The Parents United campaign group released a statement on Wednesday opposing today’s school strike as “radical action” with “potential legal implications”, insisting that the safe schools campaign remains ” apolitical “and accusing parents of being co-opted by” marginal groups “. The declaration met with widespread opposition.
Lisa Diaz, who called for a strike, told the World Socialist Website, “Martin Luther King would turn in his grave”, referring to King’s comment that “We have a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” She continued, “Whatever happened to ‘Boycott Back to Dangerous Schools’ aka BRTUS [the former name of Parents United]? On average, 3 children per day die from COVID in the United States. 9 children have died in the UK so far in September alone.
âWe have been writing strongly worded letters and petitions since March 2020. What has changed? Things got worse not better. If now is not the time to act, when is it? “
The publication of the statement in the Parents United Facebook group had its comments section disabled, preventing further discussion. However, several people responded to the message on Twitter.
One user wrote: ‘Children are collateral damage in the UK’s infection strategy. Have you seen the infection rates in children? And we know that 14% will get Covid for a long time and many will lose a parent, caregiver or important adult to Covid. How far has lobbying taken us with the government? We now have fewer mitigation measures than beforeâ¦ We must stand up together. “
Horrible explained, âI joined PU very early in the pandemic, when they were BOYCOTT BACK IN DANGEROUS SCHOOLS. If I’m honest after 19 months, the schools are the most dangerous they have ever been. I am seeing CV / CEV families infected at an alarming rate. After strict shielding and sacrifices.
âWhen school attendance makes infection inevitable. Action must be taken. I am not as afraid of punitive measures as I am of reinfection. So much loss of life and quality of life for families.
She took issue with Parents United’s claims that the strike involved “the use of children to score political points” and “puts children and families at risk of radicalization,” asking “Someday?” Or a letter of solidarity, for global action with media engagement? Do you condemn this ?? Do you call it radicalization?
Lizzy wrote: âWhile I accept your position, I don’t understand what you mean by vulnerable families could be radicalized and this could be a protection issue? A one-day strike? Are you serious?”
Michele asked, âPlease look at this from a historical perspective. How many more lives will be lost, students injured while waiting for policy changes? For me, the extreme action here is the assumption that it will come through these means. It needs a pressure cooker. Not a simmer.
âI think it’s unfair to suggest that a parent use their child here. You assume that the students themselves are not looking for a way to be heard. I am threatened with legal action. I can not wait anymore.
Faced with the threat of fines and Parents United’s claim that “we will not have sufficient resources” to support striking parents, Amrit wrote: “You seem to have concerns about the ‘legal implications’ and’ attendance policies’ but fail to respond to @GoodLawProject’s point of view that the law is on the parents’ side (and not schools / AL) in these circumstances. “
Cal said of the statement extolling Parents United’s work “empowering our members to make informed choices and lobby for policy reform” through legitimate channels, “It doesn’t matter what that means , it does not work!”
Speaking with the WSWS, teacher Ruth said: âThis strike came from ordinary parents and very quickly gained momentum and international support.
âThree children have died from Covid every week this month in the UK. A whole class of children are hospitalized every day with Covid in the UK. This is before considering transmission to siblings, parents and grandparents. A thousand people die each week from Covid in the UK. Who do we think all these people are and how do we think they got the virus? We know that schools are vectors of transmission …
âParents United seems to imagine that speaking with the government or the political parties or being seen by them as reasonable will give them some kind of power to make a difference. Watch teacher unions and learn. It won’t be.
âMany of us who are unable to fully withdraw our children from school need advocacy, support and solidarity just as much as those who are educating our children at home during the pandemic. The UK’s new crackdown on attendance will also prevent us from taking our children away from school when there are outbreaks in the school or classroom that would previously have resulted in closure or isolation, or even when our children themselves are sick or need to be isolated.
âWe know that there are a significant number of children and young people absent from British schoolsâ¦ But tomorrow’s school strike will have a huge impact if it also includes pupils who are normally in school. We have the right to be safe, a right to life, to health and to education. We have the right to safe schools. Why do we accept this illegal policy which constitutes a flagrant violation of our human rights? Enough is enough.”
Claire, a former teacher and parent and founder of SafeEdForAll (Safe Education for All), told us, âI would say it’s not really ‘radical’, whatever that is meant to mean, with its overtones of danger. As a parent, wanting to get your child out of the way of danger is an innate human response. It stands to reason that schools are not safe places for our children during the pandemic, and not a dime, nor a thought, has been used to try to make them that way …
âI also think that many families, hitherto apolitical, have become aware of the politics around this issue, suddenly realizing that their government does not take their health and safety and that of their families seriously, and have started wondering what else this government is failing to do. to do?
âMany of them have already become frustrated with the ‘official channels’, they have written hundreds of letters to officials, deputies, councilors, directors and academies, to no avail. Ditto for the organizations responsible for overseeing them, the Health and Safety Executive, the Department for Education, the Children’s Commissioner and politicians from all parties.
âThis symbolic one-day strike was born out of the frustration that they did exactly the right thing, denouncing their concerns about the directions, the politics and the safety of their families, and eighteen months later, NOTHING never happened. It’s like living in a nightmarish version of Groundhog Day.
âOur children are sitting ducks. There is no attenuation in place, no collapsed classes, no masks, no bubbles. Nothing has been done regarding ventilation or vaccination.
Brian, also a former teacher and parent, said: âThe government has implemented a policy of compulsory mass infection of children by forcing them to go to school, in the absence of any measures to protect them.
In their statement, Parents United explains how we have moved into a ‘very different phase of the pandemic.’ They are right, we have entered another phase of the pandemic, a phase where we should act and defend the health of our people. children …
âParents United says they need to stay ‘apolitical’ and worry about the radicalization of children as the reason they do not support the recent call for a school strike. What a lie! What about protecting children from the worst consequences resulting from exposure to Covid-19?
âI fear this statement will reveal a connection between Parents United and the state apparatus (unions and / or major political parties), which are absolutely complicit in their support for the government’s criminal and murderous actions. It appears groups like this exist to dilute growing resentment against government actions and channel anger through the political apparatus.
âRather than expressing a concern against the radicalization of children, the group should focus its efforts on protecting children by starting by supporting the actions of Lisa Diaz and the World Socialist Website. “