Schoolgirl suing school for 'requiring' pupils to wear face masks
A schoolgirl is suing a school for 'requiring' pupils to wear face masks which she says 'risks causing children serious harm' to their physical and mental health.
The pupil is suing the Tapton Academy School Trust, which runs a number of primary and secondary schools in the Sheffield area, to stop it from 'requiring or encouraging' children to wear masks at school to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The 12-year-old, known only as AB, who is exempt from wearing a mask at school, says mask-wearing could lead to 'long-term' harm.
But the trust argues that it only encourages the wearing of masks, in line with Government guidance, in order to protect children, staff and visitors.
Francis Hoar, representing AB, told the court: 'The school's policy risks causing children serious harm to their physical health and their mental health.'
Mr Hoar added: 'If the trust had done its job properly ... it would have gathered evidence and reached a view as to the effectiveness of this particular measure, but it has done no such thing.
'There is no evidence, effectively, of the efficacy of these instruments that are supposedly necessary to avoid the risk of transmission of the virus.'
He argued in written submissions: 'The available evidence shows that not only is there no additional risk of transmission of the virus in school settings but also that, by comparison to any ordinary social or work setting, the risk is likely to be lower given the extremely low prevalence of the virus in schools.'
Mr Hoar accepted that AB did not have to wear a mask at school, but added: 'The child is still faced with a school environment where a child, save those who are disabled should, must rather, wear masks, and that is enforced, the child says, aggressively.'
The case is being fought by Laworfiction and other leading lawyers involved in legal challenges to the government's response to Covid-19.
They said in a statement: 'We are opposed not only to the enforced wearing of masks by children but all measures harming our children, the nation, the NHS and the economy which are irrational or not justified by evidence.