When Charlene White’s mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer, her first instinct was to pull her daughter out of school for a week so that the pair could spend some time together. She never expected to be stuck with a fine.
That’s exactly what happened, though. The single mom, from Yeovil in England, is now on the hook for nearly $100 for taking her daughter out of school to go on a weeklong vacation with her dying grandmother. White told Daily Mail that when her mother, Sharon, was diagnosed with the deadly cancer, she was advised to spend time with her family — doctor’s orders.
“The doctor said to do what she wants to do now because she won’t have the chance to again.”
What the grandmother of five wanted to do was take her kids and grandkids on a short coastal vacation to Devon, England. She booked the tickets herself, and White happily pulled her 7-year-old, Kia, out of school to spend some time with her ailing grandmother while she still could.
Unfortunately that resulted in the school fining White for truancy, in part because Kia had been absent before for an illness. While no one would argue that it’s really important for kids to be consistently present at school if they’re attending a public institution, penalizing a little girl for seeing her dying grandmother is way out of order.
White plans to pay the fine with the hope that it will relieve the additional stress placed on her mother during a time when that’s the last thing she needs. According to White, her mother feels guilty for possibly getting them in trouble. In the grandmother’s own words:
“All I wanted to do was just spend time with them all. I’m not going to be able to see them get married or do anything with them. If this doesn’t count as a special circumstance, then I don’t know what does.”
To pour salt on the wound, while Kia was absent for five school days in August, White wasn’t notified of the fine until October, after a conference in which Kia’s teachers assured her mother that she was doing well in school and that they had no concerns whatsoever about her education.