UK parent Lisa Diaz speaks about her call for a second school strike

SafeEdForAll member Lisa Diaz spoke to the World Socialist Web Site about her call for a second school strike this Friday, October 15.

“The first school strike, on October 1, got a bigger response than I anticipated. I didn’t really have any grand designs for it. What I think was most important about it was that it was a global effort.”

Support, including video messages, came from the UK, United States, France, Germany, Spain, Israel, Sri Lanka, Japan, Australia and other countries, and was collected in a global online picket line by the World Socialist Web Site.

“Since then,” Lisa continued, “I have been contacted by people asking when we would have another strike and saying that we should be holding them weekly. I have friends who are teachers who are contacting me personally to describe how terrible the situation is now in their schools and telling me their stories.”

“We’re in a situation now where one in every 14 Secondary school children have COVID. Yet the vaccination programme for 12–17-year-olds is being stalled. Those that have been vaccinated in this age group are the exception, and its being continuously delayed. COVID is ripping through the schools, and I think they have a deliberate plan now to get children infected. So that’s why I proposed another strike, this coming Friday, October 15.”

Lisa said she was “awaiting a response from my children’s schools and the local council because the Good Law Project has sent a formal Pre-action Protocol letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Nadhim Zahawi, asking him to explain to schools and local authorities that children who are vulnerable, or who have vulnerable people living in their household, should not be forced into school while it represents a serious risk.

“Thanks to the lack of mitigation measures in place, schools currently represent an extremely serious risk for unvaccinated children—[Chief Medical Officer for England] Chris Whitty has said it is ‘inevitable' they will become infected.’”

At the time of the interview, Lisa had received no reply. Since then, she has tweeted the response of Woodfield Primary School in Wigan: “As previously advised, the issue of the children’s non-attendance is now in the hands of the Local Authority and the position of the school remains the same.”

Lisa commented, “as expected, they are completely unmoved by @GoodLawProject news and refuse to authorise absence or provide work for my dyslexic daughter. Them and @WiganCouncil seem to go round in circles blaming each other.”

Speaking with our reporter, Lisa said, “Meanwhile you have [Conservative Education Secretary Nadhim] Zahawi telling headteachers that he wants to get to the bottom of why there are so many absences in schools, as if it’s a mystery. And you have Health Secretary Sajid Javid apparently expressing ‘alarm’ at the rising number of people suffering from Long COVID. He reportedly told a private meeting of health officials that the problem was ‘huge’ and ‘getting bigger’—especially among National Health Service staff, which has massive implications.

“There’s something Orwellian about this. This new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pandemic Response and Recovery has been set up. It claims to be looking at the science but one of those attending their discussion was Professor Kate Ardern, Director of Public Health at Wigan Council, who keeps repeating the lie that COVID is spreading in the ‘community’ and not in schools.”

The Byline Times reports that the APPG is funded and managed by Collateral Global, the successor organisation to the billionaire-funded proponent of herd immunity by natural infection, the Great Barrington Declaration.

Speaking on the role of the trade unions, Lisa said, “The teaching unions are doing nothing. They’re ignoring their own members. They talk about a bit more mitigation and writing ‘strongly worded’ letters to the government but that is too little, too late.

“There was an exchange between myself and others with Kevin Courtney [joint general secretary of the National Education Union]. He was speaking about ‘minimising disruption’ to schools and when he was asked by his own members about supporting a strike, he basically said ‘well what are we striking for and with what leverage?’ The answers are obvious: it should be to close schools until they are safe for children to attend.

“As for the argument that teachers would lose wages, why? They can teach online. It was done before and it can, and should, be done again. Obviously, you can maintain a skeleton staff in schools for the children of key workers, but the priority must be to keep children safe. To stop them becoming infected, ill and dying. Eleven children have died this term so far, 94 children have died since the start of the pandemic in the UK alone. The claim that children are not at risk is a lie.

“If there was asbestos in buildings, children and staff wouldn’t be expected to go in and risk exposure. Yet that’s what we're doing with COVID. This is eugenics in practice. The government won’t listen to letters. They don’t even listen to their own scientific advisors.”

Lisa added, “Some people did approach the BBC to ask them to cover the school strike, but they wouldn’t touch it.

“We have to raise awareness. We must get together and stand up against this. That’s why the October 24 webinar ‘How to end the Pandemic: The case for Eradication’ is so important. People need to listen to the science. That’s how we make people aware, and we can end this. It isn’t too late to eradicate COVID. Dr. Malgorzata Gasperowicz said that the concern was that with Delta, this could be our last chance to really get on top and eradicate. That's what we need to do and why awareness and understanding of the science involved—as against the lies—is so critical.”