Stickers likening the use of face masks to child abuse have appeared outside a school in Glenrothes.
The stickers, which were placed on a sign at St Paul’s RC Primary School, also question the effectiveness of masks in the fight against coronavirus.
They direct people to a group who call themselves the “White Rose”, who proclaim they are “taking the immense power of meme warfare to the streets, via the medium of stickers”.
Organised on the secure messaging app Telegram, the group has 111 members in the Fife area.
Similar stickers have appeared across the UK, including in Manchester, which purport to be from the same organisation.
Councillor Julie Ford, who represents Glenrothes West and Kinglassie, says that while people are entitled to their opinions, defacing public property is not the right way to express them.
She said: “The past 18 months have been really tough for everyone – mentally, emotionally, and maybe even physically. Covid-19 is a new virus that scientists are still learning about.
Masks ‘respectful to those who’ve lost their lives’
“Do I like wearing a mask? No, not particularly. I feel restricted and never fully at ease when I have it on.
“But I know that the science shows that it provides protection when we’re mixing closely with other people, especially inside.
“I think it’s a very small price to pay right now, and I think it’s also respectful to those who have lost their lives to Covid-19, but also to the many businesses that have been badly damaged by the economic affect.
“People are entitled to their own opinions – even if it does go against science – but I don’t think defacing public property is the way to encourage proper engagement.”
The Times of Israel has suggested the group behind the stickers took its name from the Weiße Rose (White Rose) – an organisation set up in Germany in the 1940s to provide non-violent resistance to the Nazis.
The legacy of a young woman connected to the group, who was executed during the war, was also co-opted by the German anti-coronavirus lockdown movement.
Government guidance on masks in schools
Current Scottish Government health guidance asks that all adults in schools wear a mask if they cannot be more than two metres from others, including children.
In secondary schools, teachers and pupils are asked to wear masks unless they are exempt.
Kirstie Freeman, service manager (safer communities) at Fife Council, said: “We aim to remove any material that could cause offence as soon as possible after it is reported to us.
“We rely on the public coming forward and reporting this kind of activity to us. You can do this online or phone 03451 55 00 22.”
It comes after anti-vaccine banners appeared in Glenrothes earlier this month – with one councillor branding the messages “very dangerous”.