Girlguiding under fire for making Brownies and Guides wear face masks from the age of seven


Parents say they have been pulling their children out of Brownies and Guides because they are being forced to wear masks.

While government guidance was for those over 11 to wear face coverings in classrooms and common areas, Girlguiding has been telling younger children that they must wear one or they won’t be able to attend sessions.

Mums have told the Manchester Evening News how they have been ‘forced out’ by the ‘disgusting’ and ‘disproportionate’ Guide rules.

Jasmine Lovell-Davis, whose 10-year-old daughter started Guides near her Forest of Dean home last week, said: “She came home saying she was made to wear a mask. She said she couldn’t breathe properly, she felt all wet inside the mask and hated it.

“I had expressly told them I wouldn’t be wearing a mask. Now I’ve emailed them to say I’m not coming back until they stop their ridiculous rules and told them how hurt I was that they ignored what I’d said.”

Some parents say their Brownies are made for wearing masks

Another mother explained how a similar incident happened with her 10-year-old son, even though she told the group leader that she would not wear a mask.

“I explained my and my daughter’s concerns and that she didn’t want to wear one and as she is under 11 she was exempt anyway,” said the mother, who lives in the Fylde.

“Then when it was time to end her session, she came out and immediately told me that she was forced to wear a mask. I confronted them and all they did was deny it and said they were okay with it.

“After further discussion with my daughter, she said they were telling her that all the other guides were wearing them and she was the only one not wearing one and she handed it over to her so she felt she had to wear it.”

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The mother filed a complaint with The Guide Association headquarters, but says her daughter “refuses to go back after the way she was made to feel, it’s disgusting.”

Several parents have complained to Girlguiding about wearing masks

It’s not just the Guides either. Mom Katarina Veiram said she had the same problem at Brownies, which is for girls ages 7-10.

“I took my daughter out of Brownies when they were told to wear masks outside last summer,” she said. “My daughter was still nine years old then.”

At that time he received an email from Brownies explaining their policy.

It read: “Hello everyone, it’s wonderful to be back in face-to-face meetings again. We’d love to continue this for as long as possible, however, in order to do so, we’ll now be asking Brownies to wear masks for the duration of the meeting. This It is due to a couple of reasons.

“First of all, in order for us as leaders to get the go-ahead for face-to-face meetings, we need to ensure we follow the Girlguiding UK COVID-19 guidelines.

“Despite efforts, the Brownies are struggling to socially distance, which is why we have decided to implement this measure.

“We understand that many of the Brownies are in the same school and therefore in the same school bubble, however, some Brownies are in different school bubbles.

“On top of this, we as leaders have vulnerable family members and we don’t feel comfortable putting them or ourselves at unnecessary risk.

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“This is a firm condition for us to continue with in-person meetings and we will not allow a Brownie to stay in the meeting if they don’t come wearing a mask.”

Girlguiding is under fire from parents

The parent group UsForThem, which has campaigned to reopen classrooms during the pandemic and has spoken out against wearing masks in schools, has received several complaints about the Brownies and the Guides.

Liz Cole, co-founder of UsforThem, said: “It is worrying that the Guidelines, whose mission is to help girls grow and thrive, are imposing mask restrictions on young children that are completely out of step with relevant guidelines and much more. strict”. than those required for most adults.

“10-year-olds have always been exempt from wearing masks in England, and since last week, mask rules have been lifted in 11-and-over school classrooms.

“Parents have told us that they are extremely angry and disappointed by these disproportionate Guideline rules, feeling that once again children are being deprived of normal interactions and experiences and are being put last.”

Schools could still decide to close
High school students were required to wear masks in class from the age of 11, but Girl Guides have been requesting them from the age of 10 and some Brownie groups even younger.

Has your child been told to wear a mask at Brownies or Guides? Were you happy that they used one? Let us know your views in the comments here.

A spokesperson for Girlguiding said its mask policy has now been lifted in line with the government’s relaxation of restrictions, but individual venues or leaders may request them as an added precaution.

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“We had previously warned that at indoor meetings, guides, rangers and [age 14 -18] and volunteers,” he said.

“The law required everyone over the age of 11 to wear a face covering, unless for a good reason, when attending youth sector activities.

“To make it easier for volunteers to manage the requirements for mixed age ranges in the older sections, we recommend that all guides (10+), rangers and volunteers wear a face covering.”

He added: “Our volunteers have been working hard to keep up with changing health and safety policies, as well as the added complexities of keeping their members and volunteers safe.

“Some locations where units are housed may require additional regulations, such as face coverings, and volunteers may implement additional precautions for vulnerable leaders and members. It is best to contact local units to better understand what measures they have put in place.” . .”

The spokesperson said that during the pandemic, Girlguiding has prioritized the well-being of members: “doing everything possible to ensure that as many young members as possible continue to have adventure-filled experiences, whether in person or online.”

Parents told us that they have not yet received confirmation from their individual units that masks will no longer be required.

The assistance of guides without a mask has not been allowed

One mother told us that she thinks most leaders will continue to ask for masks to be worn “as they are so scared.”

She withdrew her 12-year-old son due to the mask rule and took her 9-year-old son off the waiting list.

“They were still enforcing them as of last week,” he said. “And they haven’t said that nothing will change.

“That won’t teach them to be brave or show that they trust science. To me, it shows that they are afraid and don’t trust science.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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