#ImNotSafe – Young Peoples Stories

After a number of young people joined the Parents United Facebook group and shared their concerns about their safety at school we posted the following:

We would like to help spread your message further by sharing them on our website and social media. If you would be happy for us to do so please post your story in this thread. We will be using #CloseSchoolsNow and #ImNotSafe, and of course you could share your own account using those # too.

Here are some of the responses:

A while ago, I posted about how COVID-19 safety measures in my school were not being enforced. They’re still not being enforced.

20+ confirmed cases (and this is just positive tests, there will be many more asymptomatic people) and still rising, you would think that the school would realise that the rules they have in place are not only not working, but are not being enforced.

I am one of the very few people (I can’t think of a time I’ve seen somebody do this) who wears a mask for the entire time that I’m in school. That’s about 7 hours a day – 35 hours a week. Hardly anyone wears a mask in class, let alone for the entire day. By the end of the day, the straps on the mask are digging into the back of my ears – I cannot avoid this, as this is the only way my mask can be tight enough to work effectively.

When doors and windows are open in a classroom, most teachers allow students to wear coats. However, not every classroom has had its doors or windows open – this is not only unsafe, but breaks guidance the schools have been given.

Students in my school are not allowed to buy food and take it outside to eat, meaning that we have to sit down and take our masks off in the cafeteria to eat. This has led to many people sneaking their lunch outside, just to be safe when they eat. We are being forced to break school rules for our own safety.

I will not name this school as I believe I will get into hot water if I do. But let this be a message to everybody who reads my post – we need immediate change. To force somebody into this position is infuriating and wrong, and nothing short of immoral. We want change. We NEED change.

Year 9 Pupil

Bit older on the spectrum but still in education.

Was at college until I had to make a choice to come in or leave college completely.

Since going back to college in September my mental health has been all time low especially people coming into class with coughs and temperatures but refuse to get tested or stay at home because “it’s just a cold”.

This is all completely terrifying especially being older I have older parents who at really at risk. I know a few people who’s mental health has been impacted to bad that they have to go to hospital due to intense stress.

6th Form Student

I have to attend school or my mum will be fined, my mums c.e.v and I’m scared I’m going to kill her if I take this virus home, teachers in school are tripling up on there masks, they are scared even tho they turn up like me we are terrified of this virus and what could happen.

Borris has to ignored the scientists, most of my class mates are scared. We wear our masks constantly and we are afraid to remove them to eat in an enclosed space, we are confined to the dining hall to eat, I have skipped lunch a lot to avoid the virus and eat when I’m home after I have decontaminated my self.

I worry once I’m home and keep my distance from my mum, our house is small I live with three siblings and my mum, I have told my siblings to give mum space because I don’t want my mum to get ill she is our rock, the one we go to when we need help. she has the best advice, cooks the best lazagne and Sunday roast and gives the biggest hugs but I’m scarred to hug her just in case.

I got to hug my mum safely over Christmas after I isolated and it was the best present ever to be able to give her a squeeze. Education is important but my mums life is worth much more, you see when I’m confused or scared or need to be guided on the right tracks my mum is always there unlike no other person she is irreplaceable.

I can learn later but I can’t raise my mum from the dead. Borris needs to listen to the scientists and the teachers shouldn’t be scared to stand up and strike. Us students would stand beside our teachers and be mega proud that we have all put each other first.

Bradley, aged 14

Right now, my headteacher, my head of year and the deputy head are at home with COVID and countless others are isolating. They’ve send a whole year group home but still, us year 11s have to stay because “This year is your GCSE year and if you don’t get those you won’t get into college”.

It’s unfair and cruel. It’s not right that we have to risk our lives for our education what it can be done at home. I was sent home to self isolate for 2 weeks and honestly, best 2 weeks of year 11 so far. I got my work done whilst not worrying about catching COVID. it’s awful in my school, along with the bullying you now have whenever you cough you’re constantly worried about catching the virus.

Year 11 Pupil

Since I returned to school in September I wore a mask all day every day. There is no social distancing in school. My year group bubble is 150 people and between lessons we often have 2 year group bubbles passing each other in crowded corridors. For a long time I was the only person in my year to always wear a mask. My mum made myself & my sister change out of our uniforms straight after school & shower every night. She washes all our uniform including blazers every night. School hasn’t really changed since covid. We have to clean our tables between lessons. Despite school saying they are covid safe I tested positive for covid on 29th October. Me & my family have been really careful since March and we don’t go anywhere other than walks. Track & trace think I got covid from school but because I fell ill during halfterm school do not accept my illness came from them and did not notify parents of my case. I am still unwell with ‘long covid’ and have not returned yet to school. I am really worried about returning to school. There have been 2 other positive cases

Year 8 Pupil

Our school hadn’t had any cases for the first term and I started to get comfortable being in school and with my friends and the majority of my year wore masks and were being sensible. Second week into the new term there was the first case and then later on in the week there was a case in my year group.

It started off as a rumour and none of us were really sure if it was true but then as we were sat in the common room my friends and I watched the supposed cases friends all get called into a meeting, That’s when we all realised it was true there was a case. My tutor group was held in the common room which has a completely glass wall so we watched as staff frantically ran around and called people out of their classrooms to be asked to go home to isolate. Me and my friend was sat waiting to see if we would be asked to be sent home. None of my friends or Me was sent home and then on the Sunday my school announced they would be closing for two weeks.

It made us all feel very anxious as we could see everything that was happening and were receiving texts from other classmates telling us which people were being sent home.
It was really scary!

Year 12 Student

Thank you to all our young people for sharing our experiences. If you are a young person who is concerned about their safety at school, please visit our dedicated young persons webpage to find support.

If you would like to share your experience with us please complete this form, or tag us on Twitter, using #ImNotSafe.