Children

Make the schools safe!

The government’s aspiration to partially open schools on 1 June is likely to be largely unrealised. While we all want children back in schools, as soon as safe enough, that is good. Success in resisting unsafe reopening is dependent on union strength on the ground. We must fight for rank-and-file school worker control over the strategy, locally and nationally.

Children, parents, school workers: stand together!

The education unions are right to say schools should not accept further mass return of pupils until the five tests are met. We should fully support any school workers who will take action on health and safety grounds from 1 June to keep their workplaces open only to vulnerable and key workers’ children. That does not mean we, or school workers, are oblivious to how difficult school closures have been on families. Solidarity has covered, and will continue to cover, the increased risk of domestic violence and neglect in a stressful period with less contact between the household and the outside...

The rollbacks so far

Above: the youngest school children are returning in Queensland, Australia A provisional “lockdown rollback” checklist compiled by researchers at Oxford University bit.ly/ready-rb puts the UK fourth from bottom among all the world’s countries for readiness to roll back lockdown measures. The detail of the list is unreliable, but daily deaths have gone down less than in other European countries which are “rolling back”. Daily new confirmed cases aren’t really going down. Supplies of PPE are still inadequate in the NHS and care homes, let alone in other places. Isolation pay rights are patchy....

Child care cut

At the same time that schools are generally closed, and few of the children registered as “vulnerable” are turning up to the limited school provision which continues, the government has (on 23 April) published a decree suspending many of the social care obligations of local councils. For example, the duty to arrange social worker visits to children in care at least every six weeks has been removed. The requirement for six-monthly independent reviews of a child’s care has been removed. And much more.

The feminist issues round "staying home"

More and more of us will be advised or forced to stay home for whole periods, and to stay home longer each week even when we are going to work. We must remember that for many women and children, staying home comes with additional dangers of its own. In the 2015 Ebola outbreak when Sierra Leone shut schools, girls removed from school took on care work and were also at heightened risk of sexual abuse and teen pregnancy. Activist reports and police statistics both report a spike in domestic violence in Wuhan as a result of strict curfews. The New York public school system has announced school...

Other motions not passed - AWL conference 2019

Motions on left antisemitism, the Hijab in schools, and social security and Labour's policy, were all submitted to AWL conference 2019. The conference decided that the first of these motions - on left antisemitism - should not be voted on, after a debate; the second, on the Hijab in schools, fell; the third - on social security - were not voted on, as decided before any debate.

The hijab: “preventing common impositions”

Maryam Namazie is an activist with the Council of Ex-Muslims and other secularist groups . See here for wider debate in Solidarity on the ban of the hijab in schools . On the issue of child veiling, a state ban on conspicuous religious symbols for children is an important defence of children’s rights. Children are not parental property Children are not the property of their parents. They are individuals with rights and bodily integrity. And just because their parents believe in child veiling or FGM and male circumcision doesn’t mean they should be automatically entitled to impose their views...

2019 debate on hijabs in schools

Photo: CC BY 2.0 DFID In the AWL in the run up to our 2019 conference, we are having a debate on the hijab in schools, after one member brought a motion on it. Please see the editorial note below, and below that, the articles that have been written in Solidarity to date on this. We have internal discussion documents on it, but most of the debate we have had publicly. Third on this page is the policy we passed in 2004, and fourth is some articles from the debate at the time. Editorial note Our existing policy decided in relation to the French ban on the hijab/veil in schools is printed at the...

Free school meals for migrant children

On 2 October, the Labour council in Lewisham, south London, agreed that no child in its schools would be denied a free school meal because of their parents’ immigration status. “No Recourse to Public Funds” (NRPF) policies deny many migrants access to a social safety net, including means-tested school meals. The Labour Party is now committed to abolishing NRPF outright, after last week’s Labour conference voted near-unanimously last week for a migrants’ rights motion proposed by LCFM [the Labour Campaign for Free Movement]. NELMA (North East London Migrant Action) and LCFM (Labour Campaign for...

Trump's miniature Gulag-on-the-border

This is Trump's USA, Trump's border. On 1 July Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of the US Congress got to visit the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention centre in Clint, Texas. CBP did some "cleaning up" before the members of Congress arrived. A group of women, pictured above, told Ocasio-Cortez that they were moved into the crowded room from outside tents before our arrival. "They said they’d gone 15 days without a shower, and were allowed to start bathing four days ago (when the visit was announced)". The CBP people were openly hostile - a Facebook group including 9,500...

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