A furious couple won’t let their son return to school after the headteacher banned pupils from wearing masks.
Paul and Michelle Meade have vowed to homeschool their son Kieron, 10, until the head at Friskney All Saints, in Lincolnshire, changes his mind or a vaccine emerges.
The school has defended its ban on masks, saying they ‘can have a negative impact on learning and teaching’.
But Mr Meade said he is a diabetic, meaning he is clinically vulnerable, so his son ‘wants to do the right thing and wear a mask’.
He said: ‘Not just to protect himself, but to protect others, like me.
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‘This ban by Friskney School flies in the face of science and health experts around the world.
‘The headteacher is saying he knows better than the experts. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, where we should be urging extra vigilance at all levels.’
The dad said that after months of lockdown, the last thing he wants is his son to miss out on more schooling.
But after doing some research online he remains convinced that wearing a mask will keep his son, himself and the rest of his family safe.
He says he isn’t calling for masks for every child but would like his son to have the option to wear one.
He said: ‘It seems outrageous that for seven months we have told our son to follow government guidelines and wear a mask in public places.
‘But when it comes to our local school they actually ban the wearing of face coverings. It seems rather extreme.’
Mr Meade also pointed out that masks are mandatory for schoolchildren in some foreign countries, like France where teachers and pupils over 11 have to wear them.
He said: ‘In a letter from the head earlier this year he suggested that he understood our plight, and also understood the school could not guarantee our son’s safety.
‘Why would I then be willing to send him there, if they will not allow him to wear protection recommended by health experts worldwide?’
He added: ‘Surely excluding our son from school because he wants to wear a mask is more damaging to his mental health and wellbeing. Friskney School is depriving our son of an education – because the Head is choosing to interpret policy, rather than applying common sense.’
In a letter explaining the ban, interim headteacher Charles Daniels said masks ‘can have a negative impact on learning and teaching and so their use in the classroom should be avoided.’
He also said that should Kieron remain off school, his absence will be recorded as ‘unauthorised’, meaning his parents could face legal action.
Speaking on behalf of the school, a spokesperson said: ‘The government has provided schools with a range of guidance to help them prevent the virus spreading.
‘It isn’t a case of one size fits all, and it is down to each school to determine the most appropriate measures for their circumstances.
‘The current government guidance states that face coverings are not necessary in the classroom, even where social distancing is not possible.
‘The guidance also states that face coverings would have a negative impact on teaching and their use in the classroom should be avoided.
‘However, the government has not banned them outright.’
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