Parents face 11 months in prison for refusing to send children to school

Parents face 11 months in prison for refusing to send children to school

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THE parents of two children in Asturias are facing 11 months in prison for failing to take them to school due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The children, aged 11 and 14, have not been to school or high school yet this academic year, the Public Prosecutor in Asturias has reported.

They live in Cangas del Narcea in the Principality of Asturias and should be in their fifth year of primary school, the younger child, and the second year of secondary school for the older child.

The Minors’ Section of the Prosecutor’s Office has charged them with family abandonment and disobedience.

The schools and the Prosecutor’s Office have been requesting that the parents send the two children to school since November.

A hearing was held on December 14, in which the prosecutor reminded them that home schooling is not permitted in Spain. They were also told that repeatedly failing to take their children to school could constitute a crime.

Despite this, after the Christmas holidays, they were still not taken to school, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Department of Education confirmed, except on one occasion on which the older child went to take an exam.

They appeared in court in February and a judge allowed the case to go ahead. Now, each of the parents is facing 11 months in prison but remain firm in their decision.

The Prosecutor’s Office considers that their reasoning for not sending them to school is “incoherent”. They include the use of masks and social distancing, the parents said “the limitations on contact and movement imposed by the health measured derived from the pandemic prevent motor and neurological development necessary for the cognitive capacities vital to learning to be expanded.” They added that social distancing causes a “lack of trust” while “prevent the development of empathy and social skills.” According to local Spanish news source El Comercio, the parents have said that seeing people with masks all the time prevents proper communication and integration.

They had registered the children in a distance learning system based in the USA that is not authorised in Spain.

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Jennifer Leighfield

Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics. Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.