Taking kids out of school – even if it’s related to the death of a relative — can cost a fortune if you live in the United Kingdom.
Kerry and Richard Bowering were fined $1,350 (£950) for taking their three school-age daughters on vacation to Spain to heal after their grandmother’s tragic death.
“In January, their gran (grandmother) died of cancer and then at the end of February their mum had a hysterectomy for cervical cancer,” Richard Bowering told Yahoo News UK. “They were really badly affected by those things – it was a nightmare time – so we thought we would give them a break and take them on holiday. I asked for a bit of compassion to allow us to do that. I asked the headmistress (principal) for permission and she refused.”
The family that lives in Bristol, England, decided to take the trip anyway. That led the Bristol City Council to fine them around $85 per parent for each of the children. A local court then increased the fines to $1,350 when the parents did not show up in court.
“The council has a duty to follow the current legislation and national guidelines relating to pupil attendance, as set out in the Department for Education’s guidance,” a spokesman for the Bristol City Council told the website. “This includes fines which are also set out by central government.”
In the United Kingdom, schools are administered by local governments but all school policy is set by Her Majesty’s Government. This includes mandatory attendance, which can be very costly as the Bowerings discovered.