Jail threat to Wigan mum who has kept daughter off school for nearly two years due to Covid
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Lisa Diaz, 40, says she fears children could be in serious danger from Covid and long Covid so she has not sent nine-year-old Helena to primary school for almost two years.
Her son Alex, 12, has since returned to the classroom after being double vaccinated.
But Lisa fears primary schools are a "Petri dish of Covi"' so while Helena has taken part in outdoor learning activities, she refuses to send her back to a classroom.
Lisa, a qualified teacher who now works in sales, conducts lessons at the family home in Wigan and keeps her headteacher informed of Helena's progress.
However, she has been hit with letters from Wigan Council threatening her with court action after her daughter's poor attendance record became "a cause for concern".
The authority's welfare team said it would 'pursue the route of penalty notices and prosecution'.
Lisa, who lives in Swinley, now faces a £2,500 fine and even a prison sentence, but said she won't back down as her children's safety comes first.
She said: "I want my children to be safe and I want my children in school. I don't want any of this.
"But somebody has to stand up for what is right, somebody has to speak out.
"It's immoral, it's disgraceful that people are being treated this way."
Wigan Council says the school is following government guidance and insists that 'robust risk assessments' are in place to keep kids safe.
But Lisa, who argues that not enough is known yet about the long-term health implications of Covid in children, disagrees.
She added: "The problem is that they are following the guidelines, but the government guidelines are completely inadequate and they don't over ride heath and safety law.
"The irrefutable fact is that Covid is not benign in children. Primary schools are petri dish of Covid.
"There's no ventilation, no isolation of close contacts, all they do is wipe down surfaces which is no use as Covid is an airborne disease."
Since pulling Helena out of school, Lisa has been sent repeated letters warning her that she faces prosecution for her poor attendance.
Parents of persistent truants may be imprisoned for up to three months under the law.
Lisa added: "The laws were designed for parents who take their children out of school no good reason.
"They're not playing truant, they know where my children are because I send their teachers pictures every day.
"I'm not withholding an education from them, so on what grounds am I being criminalised?"
Colette Dutton, director of children’s services at Wigan Council, said: “Wigan Council remains committed to working with all schools and families and has done throughout the pandemic to ensure that all children can return to school as safely as possible.
“We are unable to comment on individual cases, however, the council has advised and supported our schools in line with current Government guidance.
“For those children where there is clear advice from a medical practitioner that a child should not attend, alternatives are considered and put in place.
“Our headteachers have worked tirelessly to carry out robust risk assessments and have taken all of the safety measures and precautions available to them to ensure a safe return for their pupils.”
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