School Children Penalised for Absence Due to Self-Isolating, Why?

Tuesday’s article kicked up a stink on local social media groups, quite literally. They’re still on the subject of dog poo, I’ve moved onto something else now, mate. Something which doesn’t seem to have kicked up quite the fuss I believe it should, and that notion in itself is as symbolic as the issue is to my concluding paragraphs.

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Your kid comes home from school with a reprimanding letter, informing you their attendance has been low this year. You pause for recollection, certain the only time they were absent from school was when they had to self-isolate due to a positive covid test.

So, is it just me thinking, why are our children being penalised for obeying the regulations, the law? Why has self-isolating been included as absence due to sickness and reflected badly on their attendance record?

It’s at this point I’m aiming daggers at Devizes School’s new headmaster Julian Morgan, sizing him up and considering meeting him round the back of the science block for, what my offspring informs me the contemporary slang currently is, “a bit of tea;” don’t ask, it was always “spoiling for a rumble,” to me!

However, a reply is despatched from his personal Twitter account, in response to my query and sternly put point that it all “seems rather unfair.” Julian agreed with me, suggesting “it does seem really unfair,” which has to be the first time in my near fifty years I’ve seen eye-to-eye with a headmaster!

Turns out, he’s alright by my book, explaining, to get himself off the hook, “attendance criteria are set by the Department of Education, and its statutory that schools follow the government guidance. I think the government want a comprehensive picture of how Covid is impacting school attendance, and I suppose this is the only real way of doing it.”

Thank you for setting me straight, Mr Morgan, sir, put that cain back, it’s a national issue, I wrote it out a hundred times on the blackboard. I also followed this by penning an email to our supercilious man in parliament, Mr Danny Kruger, and surprise, surprise, the expected failed to hit me between the eyes; to date he felt it pointless to respond. Because, you know, it’s not like he’s our democratically voted voice in government, or that we pay his wages or anything silly like that. I’m sure after digesting this he might have some smug reply which we’ll think ourselves honoured and edit in accordingly…yeah, for sure.

Ruffle my hair, apologise, getting on with more “important things” is the order of the day, it seems, in Westminster. Level up this….

It would’ve been nice to hear from our Monday’s child, fair of face, being it’s the British Cross Children’s Mental Health Week, and if I’m honest, this, I feel, is a small piece in a larger jigsaw, that basically suggests we treat our youth worse than a turd on our lawn. You want kids to be free of mental health issues, start treating them with an ounce of respect, might be a small start, start cutting them some slack. They are not slugs on your lettuce patch, a colony of ants marching across your kitchen lino. They are not a single-minded infestation; they are the ones who will be ruffling the pillows of your sickbed.

I’m still in the dark at how the government will gain a “comprehensive picture of how Covid is impacting school attendance,” if other absences are included under the same marking, but ponder if it would’ve taken too much expertise to divide a spreadsheet with a new column, so that the government could have an even clearer indication, and children wouldn’t be penalised for basically obeying the law. Or what? I am asking too much now? Can we not invest in a Microsoft Excel workshop for these unfortunate parliament office staff, Nadhim?

But of the larger jigsaw, depends on if you like social media, or not. An impossible subjective question, for all the keyboard warrior bigotry and hatred you’ll shamelessly find posted, there’s rays of sunshine mainstream media simply won’t scoop. Like the other day on one of our local Facebook groups, where the family of an elderly lady who dropped her purse posted a photo of two hoodie teenagers on her doorstep, with a story of how, after the lady dropped her purse, these two juvenile hoodlums swept it up, cracked it open, found her address and walked the length of the town to deliver it back to her.

Yet random acts of kindness like this don’t sell newspapers, drama through crime does, and watch the plethora of negativity flow, tarnishing an entire generation for a few wayward youths in the comments of such shared news reports. How they all need stringing up, how they’re all the same, how things looked so different back when you were young, through your rose-tinted specs.

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.” Affix caps-lock, subtract grammar and educated thought, and you’d be fooled to think I found this on a local Facebook group post about door-kicking Tik-Tokers, rather than a Socrates quote from 300 B.C-ish; what a Tory twot!

Or how about, “Come mothers and fathers, throughout the land, and don’t criticize, what you can’t understand, your sons and your daughters, are beyond your command, your old road is rapidly agin’, please get out of the new one, if you can’t lend your hand, for the times they are a-changin’,” which was written about your parents?! Face it, it is not a problem with youth of today, it’s a problem with a minority of youth, historically.

UK School Student’s Strike; 1985

In a politically correct era striving for equality, ageism seems exempt, when in my honest opinion it is the crassest, most hypocritical form of all prejudges, being most of us at some point will be the age being targeted! And if you are currently within that target, I’ll let you know a top adult secret, kids; the majority of your parents, your grandparents, and their grandparents behaved in manners far worse than you could possibly fathom, but they choose to forget for the sake of the benefits of whinging; guiltlessness, and to make them feel better about their own wayward past.

And while I’m on honest opinion, I ask you think back to your own fondest memories and wager you were aged similarly, recall what you did, how you partied, celebrated and relished your youthful life. Then think what this generation has been through, what they’ve sacrificed; what you consider your warmest times, to prevent the spread of a pandemic.

They have sacrificed their golden years; they have foregone more than any generation since World War Two. Meanwhile, their influencers are hardly setting a good example, from walking into a supermarket and noting the majority of folk still wearing facemasks are the elderly and the youngsters, to footballers kicking cats to members of parliament who thought the Ministry of Sound was a real government department.   

For crying out loud on Instagram, the idea of penalising students for poor attendance due to obeying the law came from Bullingdon bully leaders who danced on the graves of the infected, whose age should’ve caused them to know better, but their sheer ignorance prevented them. To have had their golden years of trashing Oxford student unions halls and priceless art, burning money in front of the homeless, and other classy schoolboy acts of defiance, but still partied carelessly away today, while the rest of us suffered, and no more than our very own youth, who to dare enjoy themselves came with a ten thousand pound fine, while the regime got away with the insincere apology of a toddler. And you tell the kids to grow up and act responsibly?!

I urge you respond, Danny K, tell me you will nudge Nadhim Zahawi, wake him up and tell him to revise this appalling crime, by simply backtracking and marking students’ absence with a degree of respect for how they obeyed the law, while your bum-chums clearly don’t.


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