Parents and activists criticized as “deeply inappropriate” the obligation to wear a yellow badge, imposed on pupils exempt from wearing face masks by Farringtons School in Kent, England, UK.
“It should not need explaining why this is a deeply inappropriate thing to ask a child to do. This has historic connotations which are deeply uncomfortable for many people,” said UsForThem parent campaign group UsForThem co-founder Molly Kingsley, according to The Telegraph, Nov. 23.
Kingsley was alluding to the yellow badges that Jews were required to wear as a sign of segregation and discrimination in areas occupied by the Nazi regime after World War I.
Kingsley added: “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.”
He further expressed that such a badge, instead of helping children, could stigmatize them.
The school’s principal, David Jackson, made such badges mandatory within the school: “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,” he wrote to parents.
A spokesman for Farrington explained that this was to prevent students who were exempt from wearing masks from being frequently questioned for not wearing them, and that they were following the government’s instructions.
For her part, the journalist, Allison Pearson, questioned the provision by asking in a tweet: “Does the school have teachers who know their history?” generating debate on social networks.
Some participants wondered why they had to be yellow and not another color. Others did not understand the need, as in the case of the photographer with the user of @ItsSamson2.
“Why they’re making them wear a badge to highlight this is beyond me. Overcomplicating things to mark people who have different exemptions and reasons for that is shoddy behaviour,” he stated.
One more netizen attached to his tweet the symbol used by Jews and asked the same question as Pearson.
“Might as well put one of these on them with an appropriate symbol in the middle. Honestly, have we learned nothing from history?” opined @Kaylalula.
In this vein, radio presenter, and English newspaper columnist, Julia Hartley-Brewer, reiterated, “The connotations of a yellow badge are extraordinary given that the yellow star was forced on Jews in Nazi Germany.”
Kent MP Craig Mackinlay found the case “completely bizarre,” telling talkRADIO’s Hartley-Brewer on Nov. 23 that there are “obvious similarities, the clean and the unclean. It’s crazy.”
In a similar move in Manchester, England, there were complaints that students were being treated like “prisoners in Nazi Germany” by having their hands marked.
To attend the prom at School Administrative Unit 16, vaccination status was recorded on a spreadsheet. Students not medically treated for the pandemic had their hands marked with a number. Hands of vaccinated students were marked with an “X.”