It might be technically illegal, but Johnson’s ‘did what any parent would’ excuse for Cummings would surely open the door for group legal action if Tories try to pursue parents for keeping their kids safe from unsafe school environment
The Tories are threatening parents with a £120 fine if they keep their children home out of fear for their safety while the coronavirus is still a threat.
But Boris Johnson’s decision to excuse Dominic Cummings’s complete disregard for the law in driving to Durham – and at least once, probably twice, to Barnard Castle – during lockdown by claiming Cummings only did what any responsible parent would do in the circumstances means that any pursuit of parents, for doing what they think the circumstances require, is intrinsically unjust and unsafe.
Parents have more than justifiable cause for concern:
- almost 40 schools already in the midst of outbreaks before the general return to school next month
- scientists warning of the ease of transmission among and by children and studies showing how fast a school outbreak can spread
- the government’s own scientists admitting the school return will drive the ‘R’ rate of infection up – yet insisting there is no evidence for even the use of masks in school while still mandating masks in high-incidence areas
- the clear danger to older family members if a child becomes infected
- doctors calling on the government to abandon fines for missing school because of the dangers to the mental health of both parents and children
Any parents penalised for keeping their children home would surely have a clear basis for a class-action style legal case against the government for acting against them and against the Cummings precedent – and Johnson would be committing political self-immolation if he fought it.
Do what you think is right for your child and your family. What ‘any responsible parent would’.
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