Father threatened with prison or £10,000 fine for daughter’s school absence

A father has been warned that he could face time in Prison or pay up to £10,000 fine if he failed to send his daughter to school. The father has defended himself by saying the school was not safe and he was just afraid that his daughter would get infected with COVID-19.

Michael Hufton, a father of an eight-year-old girl, thought he was protecting his daughter from COVID-19 when he decided not to send his child to school after schools were reopened. However, he found himself in more trouble as threats started following him if he failed to send his child to school.

Prison time or £10,000 fine

The father indicated that he was warned that if his daughter does not attend her school, Samuel Barlow Primary Academy near Mansfield, he could face a fine of up to £10,000 fine or prison time.

The father said that he was only keeping her daughter home after concern that she might come into contact with the virus. Concerned of her safety, he decided to take the only path he knew would keep his daughter safe.

However, on Monday, after several warnings, the father caved into the demands of the school and sent his daughter to school. He argued that he did not want to be in a position where he is held liable or taken away from his daughter because he was a single dad, though he still remained convinced that not sending his daughter to school would have kept her much safer from getting the virus.

After sending the daughter to school, he was surprised to find out that the school was not doing simple tasks such as social distancing to help curb the spread of the virus. This resulted in him pulling his daughter again out of school.

Threats from school

Three days later, he said that he received a phone call from the headteacher who explained to him that he would face hefty fines and jail time if he did not return his daughter to school.

In an interview, the father said that he could not bring himself to sending his daughter to an environment that he deemed being unsafe. However, he noted that at some point, he would cave in because he was a single dad who only wanted what was best for his daughter, and that could not be achieved if he is fined or jailed.

He said that the classrooms the headteacher was telling him to send his daughter were too crowded. He also indicated that his daughter would be in a class with more than 26 students, at least three teachers and staff members, all of whom had not been tested for the virus, which further increased the risk for his daughter.

The father termed the decision that his daughter was being taken from him by the same people who are supposed to protect her and placed in an unsafe environment appalling.  He said, never once did he think that he would be having a battle with the school over the safety of his daughter.

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