Single mother Sarah Paxman is to stand trial on October 27 for refusing to send her 8-year-old son, Stanley, into school while no mitigations against COVID-19 are in place.
She is charged by Surrey County Council with “failing to ensure regular school attendance” of Stanley under Section 444 (1) of the Education Act 1996.
Sarah has defiantly pled not guilty, despite the threat of a £2,500 fine and a possible jail sentence. At the pre-trial hearing on May 4, she was told she will stand trial at Staines Magistrates’ Court, although it will be before a district judge as her case is “too complex” to be dealt with by a magistrate.
This is despite Stanley’s vulnerabilities being well known to the 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 threats of prosecution.
If the case is “complex” it is because Sarah refuses to bow in the face of this state persecution.
The Conservative government, backed by the Labour Party, have insisted throughout the pandemic that schools remain open, and that all children must attend, despite educational settings being known “super-spreaders” for COVID-19. The purpose is twofold: to force parents back into unsafe workplaces and to facilitate mass infection as part of their shared “herd immunity” strategy.
Now the government has fully abandoned all COVID-19 mitigation measures and, on Wednesday, announced it was ditching daily COVID updates “as the country begins to live with the virus.” Neither Labour nor the trade unions have opposed this criminal policy.
This is under conditions where, on May 9, 102,089 COVID-19 infections were reported over the week, up by 69.4 percent. Over the same timeframe 1,512 people died within 28 days of a positive test result, a rise of 24 percent. Deaths where COVID-19 is recorded on the death certificate stand at almost 196,000, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The persecution of Sarah is relentless. She faces another legal action on the same charge by the same Surrey County Council and is expecting to receive yet another “invite” to a meeting at the school under caution.
The charge against Sarah turns reality on its head. She is not the one failing in the “duty of care” to Stanley. In insisting that effective mitigations are in place so that he can return safely to school she is protecting his health and wellbeing.
It is the government and the education authorities that have abandoned the duty of care to Stanley and all children, especially the most vulnerable, by deliberately exposing them to COVID. So too have the teaching unions, which have gone along with government diktats—despite the known risks to their members and the children they support.
Sarah is determined to use her trial—thought to be the first of its kind in the UK to challenge the absence of COVID-19 protections in schools—to expose this reckless endangerment of children. She is preparing to represent herself with the support of expert witness testimony from leading scientists who have consistently spoken out in opposition to “herd immunity”.
She told the World Socialist Web Site, “They want to present this case as being about a neurotic mother, overreacting about her son. Well, it’s not. Obviously, I want to protect my son but that’s because I’m a good mother and I know how dangerous COVID-19 is, especially in schools.
“If I just agreed to deregister my son from his school, then all this would go away. That alone makes clear that this is not about them defending children’s education or concerns over school attendance. If I gave up his place now, no one would be bothered if they never saw him again.
“Look at this trial. No one has ever said to me, ‘OK Sarah, we can see that you are worried about Stanley with good reason. We know you’ve got Long COVID. We know how ill you’ve been. Let us try and help you both.’ Nothing of that. All this talk about being concerned for children is a lie. It’s disgusting.
“The whole school situation is an absolute, utter scandal. Who in their right mind can argue about ventilation in schools for our children? But it’s all about money. Any politician willing to ‘let the bodies pile high’ isn’t going to lose sleep over a generation of children suffering long-term health effects or worse.
“Everyone dealing with children has a duty of care. But as far as I can see I am the only one that is providing him with it and I’m the one being punished! The real criminals who have created this mess get off scot-free but I’m facing trial, fines and possible imprisonment!
“This is not only about my son but all children, especially the most vulnerable. It’s about the greater good—something none of those threatening me give a damn about. They promote this ‘I’m alright Jack!’ mentality’, ‘everyone for themselves’. But millions have died across the world. Hundreds of thousands more are ill, and hundreds of thousands continue to get infected and suffer the consequences—the full impact of which we don’t yet know.
“They want to make an example of me because I’m telling the truth. Well, I’m determined to take that truth into the court room.
“They want me to provide evidence in my defence—I will give them the best evidence there is: scientific experts who know about COVID-19 and its dangers.
“These are scientists who have stuck their necks out to tell the truth and educate the public on what is really going on. I want their voices to be heard because they’ve been trashed by the mainstream media for their honesty. Without them the situation would be even worse.
“So, this trial for me is a defence of truth and science, which in my opinion are the same thing. And I’m immensely grateful for all the help and support I have had.”
Lisa Diaz, a founding member of the SafeEdForAll (Safe Education for All) campaign group, has played a leading role in helping Sarah’s defence.
Lisa told the WSWS, “Sarah’s prosecution is an attack on women, working classes, the vulnerable and ultimately the truth. How on earth did we get to the stage where a mother is dragged to court for protecting her vulnerable son from inevitable infection from SARS? How?! I am raging.
“What has become of the UK? Everyday it’s something else. If they want to take someone to court, then they should look to Number 10 [Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official residence].
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.
She told us, “I support Sarah wholeheartedly as I also have a child with special needs who is more at risk of COVID and I’m also CEV [Clinically Extremely Vulnerable]. I have kept my son home since March 2020 as schools do not have the mitigations in place to keep my son safe from infection.
“Like Sarah, I wouldn’t send my child into a building full of poisonous gas, so why would I send him to a place with no mitigations for COVID?
“The government’s herd immunity strategy is wrong and immoral, and it is children, parents and educators that are paying the price.”