The persecution of single mum Sarah Paxman for defending her vulnerable 8-year-old son Stanley from COVID-19 infested schools is relentless.
At the start of this month Sarah was committed for trial at Staines Magistrate Court on charges instigated by Surrey County Council of “failing to ensure regular school attendance” of Stanley under Section 444 (1) of the Education Act.
The charge, to which Sarah has pleaded not guilty, carries a fine of up to £2,500 and a possible three-month prison sentence. It is thought to be the first prosecution of its kind in England.
She has subsequently received a further notice from Surrey County Council and the NE Inclusion Service, informing her of another visit to her home “to determine any support your child may need to return to school.” Sarah fears this could be the basis for further action.
Stanley, who has not attended his specialist school since the start of the pandemic, has vulnerabilities that are well-known to the education and local authorities. He is autistic and suffers from several underlying health conditions including Cold Urticaria, which can cause anaphylaxis and is potentially life threatening. Sarah herself suffers from Long COVID, the debilitating effects of which have been exacerbated by the threatened prosecution.
Stanley’s Educational Health Care Plan hasn’t been updated for almost three years. But the government has abandoned all mitigation measures and has even ended daily updates on COVID infections. In the seven days to May 23, 44,143 people tested positive and 469 people died within 28 days of a positive test in England. Some 3,664 people were admitted to hospital with COVID over the same timeframe.
The real purpose of Sarah’s persecution is to bully her into deregistering Stanley from school, which means he would lose his school place. If Sarah was prepared to submit to this any “concerns” over Stanley’s wellbeing and education would vanish immediately.
Sarah is being represented pro bono by distinguished barrister Mark McDonald. Based at Furnival Chambers, London, he has worked on prominent criminal defence and human rights cases and is a founder of the London Innocence Project, a non-profit legal resource clinic working on miscarriages of justice. He was also involved in setting up the UK-based Amicus, a charity working on the death penalty in the US.
Mark says he has clients across the country coming forward with similar cases and their numbers are growing. In a tweet he wrote, “The biggest COVID risk to our country is from children going to school, spreading the virus & bringing it home. A complete failure by [Prime Minister] Boris Johnson to recognise this & fully ventilate schools & urgently vaccinate our kids will once again lead to thousands of deaths.”
Sarah prepared a statement to be read in court on May 4, but as the hearing was only called to set a trial date never got to make it. She recorded the statement and played it to the exclusion officer on the last visit as she is “sick and tired of repeatedly having to explain the same concerns without them being taken on board.”
After explaining Stanley’s vulnerabilities, Sarah’s statement sets out the situation in schools: “It was all one big rush to get the children back to school. ‘It’s all over now.’ And it never sat right with me. After how badly I suffered experiencing symptoms I can barely begin to describe, I know first-hand how bad the effects of this virus can be for someone. I am certainly not sending Stanley into school willingly knowing that he could have long term brain issues. Especially on his little developing autistic brain which is confused enough due to Autism.
“Brain fog? It’s more like brain damage. Schools are the main drivers of transmission. They have been since day dot. Yet we have been led to believe otherwise. The virus has been minimised at every given opportunity through the pandemic, especially as far as schools are concerned. We have had Jenny Harries saying children are more likely to be hit by a bus than contract coronavirus as ministers were insisting parents would be fined!
“This was at a time when Boris Johnson was returning from holiday in August 2020 begging parents to send their kids back. He has said repeatedly schools are safe, which is a lie. It’s disgusting. Well, yes, schools are as safe as can be if your child attends private ones or the likes of Eton. They’re ok aren’t they, with their adequate ventilation systems and air filters installed.
“We all know it is airborne. And we have since very early on. Everybody had been misled to believe that this is just a respiratory virus when it is so, so much more. The main three symptoms list wasn’t even updated until recently. The narrative that has been pushed to make it ‘mild’ and ‘just like a cold’ is quite frankly unbelievable. It may be just like a cold to many. I’m happy for them. But it’s not for everyone.
“The whole school situation is an absolute, utter scandal. Who in their right mind can argue about ventilators in schools for our children? It’s a proven benefit. Not just to help break the chain of transmission from COVID but all other airborne viruses flying around. And even if there wasn’t, it would benefit children’s cognition and brain function while learning. And it will even reduce common allergy triggers.
“There has been a complete and utter lack of care and compassion. Complete incompetence and total failure of our government to protect our children. They are our future. It’s made out that education is so important, that mental health is so important. So, I struggle to understand just how easy it is to deregister or, at worst, be given a choice between that or court!
“Where is the extra help for the forgotten ones? Where were the laptops for the vulnerable that never materialised? Everyone dealing with children has a duty of care, yet I am the only one that is providing him with it. Yet I’m the one being punished!
“Their despicable crimes always go unpunished yet here I am standing up in court facing a fine of up to £2,500 or up to three months in prison - or both - for protecting my boy the way I see fit and doing what I believe is in his best interests because I know him better than anyone.
“I will not be sending him back until the whole school is safe and every room in it is ventilated with the right HEPA filters installed as advised by the experts.
“If I’m going to be threatened, then follow up with those threats because I will categorically not be changing my mind on this. Fine me as many thousands as you want. Put me in prison as often as you want. Open as many new cases as you like. Make an example of me if you must. Because enough is enough.”
Sarah’s case is of enormous importance. It takes place after a Health and Safety Executive investigation into the death of Burnley teacher Donna Coleman from COVID on January 6, 2021. No one is to be seriously held accountable for her death, aged just 42. Despite the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) finding the college was in breach of multiple COVID safety regulations, the government body perversely concluded that Donna was “more likely to have contracted COVID through community transmission rather than work.”
Daniella Modos-Cutter has campaigned throughout the pandemic to highlight the dangers of herd immunity, taking responsibility for painstakingly collating the weekly cases of COVID-19 in schools over more than two years. This work was already difficult, due especially to the unions who have failed to collate any information on the rates of infection in schools as they railroaded their members into unsafe classrooms.
Daniella told the World Socialist Web Site, “I have paused my work on collecting COVID cases in schools due to the information being even harder to obtain. Schools are now acting like COVID is over. Children can go back to school after isolating with symptoms for three days if they don’t have a fever. Children are allowed to attend schools now with COVID symptoms, i.e., cold symptoms. This is to further the government plan with their herd immunity strategy. This will further endanger vulnerable children, staff and their families, while making sure people who cannot afford tests have no record of their infection so they will not be able to get access to Long COVID clinics. The government are washing their hands completely of any accountability for their dangerous actions.”
- Death of UK teacher Donna Coleman blamed on “community transmission” despite Burnley College breaching COVID rules
- UK mum Sarah Paxman given trial date for stand against COVID-19 infected schools
- UK mum Sarah Paxman faces trial for stand against Covid-19 infected schools
- Lisa Diaz, Sarah Saul condemn right-wing campaign to keep schools open amid surging pandemic