A £34,050-a-year Kent private school that makes children wear yellow badges if they are exempt from wearing masks has been slammed for the ‘inappropriate’ similarity to yellow stars Nazis forced condemned Jews to display.
Farringtons School in Chislehurst made face masks mandatory for students in classrooms and corridors amid concern over rising Covid-19 cases.
In a letter to parents explaining the decision, Headmaster David Jackson said exempt pupils ‘should wear a yellow badge’ and other students should wear a face covering ‘until further notice.’
The school has been criticised for being ‘deeply inappropriate’ and accused of ignoring the ‘historic connotations’ of yellow badges which condemned Jews were forced to display in Nazi-occupied Europe.
Farringtons School in Kent (pictured) has been heavily criticised after it told pupils who are exempt from wearing a face covering to put on an identifying yellow badge
The £34,050-a-year school has been criticised for being ‘deeply inappropriate’ and accused of ignoring the ‘historic connotations’ of yellow badges. Jews were forced to wear identifying yellow Stars of David in Nazi-occupied Europe
The school was widely criticised for its policy but co-founder of parent campaign group UsForThem, Molly Kingsley, said it was not an ‘isolated’ case, the Telegraph reported.
‘Asking children to wear some form of exemption marker has been quite common in schools and unbelievably this specific example of asking them to wear a yellow badge is not in isolation.’
She said the historic connotations of yellow badges ‘should not need explaining’ and said it was ‘deeply inappropriate’ to ask face-mask-exempt children to wear them.
Ms Kingsley also warned asking students to identify themselves as exempt from wearing a face covering could ‘stigmatise’ them even more.
Informing parents of the decision in a letter, Mr Jackson wrote: ‘In light of the increase in the number of cases, we have also decided to re-introduce the compulsory wearing of face masks in classrooms and other confined areas within the senior school, such as corridors… until further notice.
‘Those pupils who were exempt from wearing a mask last academic year will once again be exempt and should wear a yellow badge to indicate this.’
Earlier this month schools across the country were advised to reimpose mandatory face masks indoors and staggered break times to halt an increase in coronavirus cases.
The plans included asking secondary schools to make masks compulsory in communal areas, as well as the return of routine onsite rapid testing for pupils.
A spokesman for the school told the Telegraph: ‘The decision to re-introduce masks was taken following Public Health England advice in response to a spike in cases after the October half-term holiday.
‘Throughout the pandemic, all of our actions have been aimed at keeping the whole school community safe.’
The spokesperson added: ‘The rationale for introducing a badge for mask exempt pupils is so that they are not repeatedly challenged about not wearing a mask.
‘On walking down a corridor, a teacher can immediately see that a mask is not required and therefore the wearing of a badge was intended to make it easier for those pupils.
‘The badge was chosen after looking at the government advice about exemption from face-covering badges.
‘This has a yellow circle and so we went for a yellow badge rather than producing a specially designed one. No offence was intended and we are horrified that any such parallel should be drawn.’