Accountability is not just for corrupt politicians
The other day I engaged in a conversation on social media about some children in England faking COVID tests to bunk off school. Apparently, dipping the stick of a Rapid Lateral Flow Test into lemon or orange juice presents a false positive.
Many people in the thread expressed the opinion that these kids should be applauded for finding an inventive way to “stick it to the Man”, that they are showing their initiative. After all, with Lockdown and everything, kids are really, really frustrated and fed up. How brilliant, they say, and hasn’t everyone played truant from school, just for a laugh. “I know I did!” some of them proudly announced. Presumably, most of the people commenting are adults and some of them may be parents themselves.
My immediate thought was, if these “adults” had spent more time engaging with their own education then perhaps they wouldn’t be so fucking stupid.
My second thought was: this is casual vandalism being laughed off as “kids just being kids”. Whatever that means. It naturally follows that people who applaud this behaviour have no right to complain about the morals of politicians or anyone else for that matter.
My third thought was: what privileged little shits those children are being brought up to be! Their behaviour is selfish, arrogant and pointless. If a child wants a day off school, just walk out the gates. How simple is that? Education in this country is currently free as are medical services provided by the NHS. To waste the time, energy and resources of teachers and medical professionals, who are overworked and pressurised enough, is both irresponsible and ignorant. There are places in the world where education is not free and considered to be a privilege while in many other countries, free and accessible medical provision remains a myth.
My fourth thought was: regarding the schoolchildren themselves: ignorance is no excuse for stupidity and they should therefore not be exempt from the consequences of their actions. One wilfully spoiled test affects a minimum of 27 people at a total cost* just short of £19,000. Yup, that’s what I thought, nineteen thousand! That’s a hefty bill for a child to find.
*When a positive result shows up, whether false or not all kids in a “bubble” or class must be sent home to self-isolate for at least 48 hours to await a negative result from a follow-up PCR test. In most cases, teachers and the child’s parents or guardians must also take time away from work to isolate.
Cost to the National Health Service (you and me): The prankster – 1 x Lateral flow plus 1 x PCR = £220: Class bubble – 8 x Lateral flow tests (before returning to school) = £480: Teachers – 2 x Lateral flow tests (before returning to school) = £120: Total = £800
Cost to the State (you and me): 16 parents off work for two days each = £16,000 (at average salary): 2 teachers off work for two days each (at average salary) = £2,000: Total = £18,000: Grand Total = £18,800
Sources: ONS and NHS Picture: Elīna Arāja
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© Rod McRiven 2021