The state persecution of parents for trying to protect their children from COVID-19 has stepped up a gear.
Single mother Sarah Paxman was summoned to Guildford Magistrates Court last week, charged with “failing to ensure regular school attendance” of her 8-year-old son Stanley under Section 444 (1) of the Education Act 1996. She pled not guilty and is to appear again on May 4 when her trial date will be set. She faces a fine up to £2,500 and a possible jail sentence.
Eight-year-old Stanley is autistic and attends a specialist school. He suffers from several underlying health conditions, which are potentially life threatening. They include Cold Urticaria, which means that even breathing in cold air for a short period of time has caused him to become unconscious on several occasions. Because of the danger of anaphylaxis, he is required to take a medication four times the adult daily dose and to always have two EpiPens at hand—two at school and two at home.
Sarah herself suffers from the debilitating effects of Long COVID and was enduring a particularly bad bout when she appeared in court, undoubtedly aggravated by months of threats. Although Sarah has taught her son at home since March 2020 and Surrey County Council are aware of her understandable concerns, she has been relentlessly pursued by the education authorities, despite her efforts to cooperate in trying to find a solution that will keep Stanley safe. Sarah is insistent that she wants her son to return to school but that this cannot be at the expense of Stanley’s health and safety.
She has bravely stood up against this persecution. Summoned to a meeting at her son’s primary school in December, she stressed that her concerns were based on scientifically valid data and that it was the educational authorities and the government who were acting irrationally and against children’s best interests by insisting on the return to unsafe schools.
Opposing the policy of herd immunity she told the meeting, “I would not send my son into school if the water was unsafe and very likely to make him ill, even mildly ill. So, I refuse to send him in to breathe unsafe air.”
“Our poor children of this country, especially the vulnerable, have been let down so badly during this pandemic. They have been an afterthought and used to ensure rapid and widespread infection by the virus. The whole thing is a scandal.”
She concluded, “All I am doing is protecting my son. I will always do so as I see fit. If that is a crime, then I am happy to be a criminal.”
There is no question that Sarah’s defiant stand against letting COVID rip in schools has made her a target for persecution. She is to be made an example of to intimidate thousands of families and educators across the country who oppose the reckless reopening of schools and workplaces.
Mask wearing, free testing and COVID sick pay provisions have all been ended. While the government declares the pandemic officially over, infections and death rates have once again gone through the roof.
The number of people testing positive in the week to April 22 was 185,625. Under conditions in which people are being actively discouraged from testing, the real total will be much higher. This is proven by the death toll over the same period, which at 1,956 was almost 20 percent up on the week before. Almost 192,000 people have died in the UK and more than 6 million globally according to official figures.
At least 175 children have died from COVID in the UK and thousands are suffering from Long COVID. Moreover, the full implications of an infection are still unclear, as underscored by instances of a new, unknown form of hepatitis in young children now occurring across Europe, the US and the UK, with prior COVID infection not ruled out as a contributing factor.
All the reported cases in the UK are below the age of 10 and several had required liver transplants. Three-year old Lola-Rose Raine fell ill in March this year and was given only hours to live after doctors found that her liver was failing. Her life was only saved by her father, Alan, donating half of his own liver to save her.
Dr. Susan Hopkins, Chief Medical Adviser, UK Health Security Agency, told Sky News “Seeing eight transplants in the first three months of this year is out of sync of what we would normally see. That’s more than we would see normally in an average year in this age group and in children, and therefore when we see that we need to investigate and understand the cause. These cases are rare and unusual.”
This is why Sarah’s prosecution has caused justified anger. Mother of two, Lisa Diaz, who is a founding member of campaign group SafeEdForAll (Safe Education for All) and who herself has been threatened with prosecution, appealed for support on Twitter.
“Single mum @sarahpaxman4 is being taken to court for refusing to send her vulnerable child into a Covid riddled classroom until he is fully vaccinated. She needs expert witnesses willing to testify. Could anyone pls help?”
Lisa explained, “Her case is groundbreaking as the only reason her son is NOT in school is specifically related to Covid - because schools are NOT Covid safe - these are our children, not lab rats.
“We need to win this not just for Sarah, but for all families across the country who object to the Government’s murderous Covid policies. They can gaslight and lie all they like but the reality is that over 1,600 people have died in the U.K. over the past three days. Pretending Covid is over is not enough. What’s happening is abhorrent. Unmitigated schools continue to fuel the pandemic.”
Since then, Lisa and Sarah have been inundated with messages and pledges of support, including from leading doctors and scientists prepared to provide expert testimony in Sarah’s defence.
This support is critical and the WSWS calls on all its readers to come to Sarah’s aid.
Her prosecution underscores that there is one law for the rich and another for the working class.
After months of stalling, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was finally given a paltry £50 fine for breaking his own lockdown rules, in the so-called “partygate” scandal. While patients died alone in hospital because their families respected isolation measures aimed at containing the virus—notwithstanding the huge personal cost—Johnson and other ministers partied in defiance of the law.
But while there is speculation Johnson may receive further fines, the real question is how it is possible that the Prime Minister, and others, are not being held criminally accountable for 192,000 plus deaths.
Responsibility for this rests with the Labour Party and the trade unions who have backed the Tory government’s herd immunity policy throughout the pandemic. In August 2020 Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer demanded the reopening of schools “no ifs, not buts” and it is the trade unions that have enforced this demand so that parents can be forced back into unsafe workplaces in the interests of big business.
It is for this reason that Sarah’s prosecution has gone unmentioned and unchallenged by the Labour Party and the trade unions.
Sarah told the WSWS, “I’m being treated like a criminal for protecting my child while the real criminals are getting away with murder, literally. But I’m not backing down. I will stand up against them whatever they throw at me because this is not only about Stanley. This is about all the children, the education staff and their families who are knowingly and deliberately being put in harm’s way by government policy. I know that I am not on my own and that is why they are trying to make an example of me.”