DoD forces DGC surrender over school masking policy
A process that has taken almost a year and a half finally came to an end today, with the admission by Dumfries & Galloway Council that they cannot point to the source of their authority to impose masks upon other people’s children during the Covid pandemic.
The local authority’s climbdown came only after much prodding and no small amount of persistence from Declaration of Dumfries, with many thanks to the assistance received from the Scottish Information Commission – a public body that (shocking as it may sound) seems to actually do the job the public pays them to do.
Scottish Information Commissioner Investigator Julie Frew contacted both parties to state their case and to establish their respective positions on the matter. The subsequent response from the council is unequivocal:
We write to you in reference to your application for decision to the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) regarding your Freedom of Information request, case reference 5297113.
We have been working with the SIC to understand the information that you are looking for with the aim to resolve your request. Following our email to you on 12 July 2023 providing documents, the SIC have advised that you were definitely seeking “the source of authority to impose masks upon other people’s children”. In response the Council can confirm it does not hold any information in line with section 17(1) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.
We also advise that there was no policy / guidance that permitted (granted authority) to headmasters/teachers at schools in Stranraer to ask pupils to leave school if they did not wear a face mask, in line with section 17(1) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. We hope that this satisfies your request.
We were not quite satisfied with the latter paragraph, however, and responded seeking clarification on whether the admission of there being no authority “to ask pupils to leave school school” extended to any other form of punitive measures for noncompliance – all of which we know occurred as undeniable, established fact from the first-hand testimony of a young lady who found herself victim to the diktats of overzealous, power-hungry teachers and heads at the school she attended. We will provide an update once we receive a response.
In the meantime, DoD will be contacting the recently-appointed leader of the council, Gail MacGregor, to make sure she is fully aware of this absence of authority should similar circumstances ever reoccur.
We would hate for Gail to repeat the criminal conduct of her predecessor Elaine Murray, and the (still) head of education Gillian Brydson.