Outrage after school refuses to let dying mom take son on what could be their last holiday together
Angela Rose, a dying mother of an 8-year-old son, was denied permission to take her son out of school to go on a holiday with her – which could very well be the very last one they go on together. The people at Stanton Middle School in Buckinghamshire, UK, apparently felt that hers was not an “exceptional circumstance” that warranted her son Carlo’s absence from school during term time. This, despite that fact that Carlo has an exceptionally good attendance record - 98%.
The 36-year-old mom was diagnosed with breast cancer 14 months ago, after which it spread to her bones and brain in a very short time. She was informed by her doctors that her sickness was terminal and that she had only a couple more years to live. “I asked how long I had and they said between one and two years. I’ve already had more than a year and every moment with my children is precious now,” Milton Keynes website quotes her as saying.
"If a dying 36-year-old mum wanting to take her boy on holiday for one last time isn't an exceptional case then I dread to think what is,” says Angela, who was even threatened with a fine late last July by the school. Parents who take their kids out of the school without clearing it first, reportedly are liable to be fined anything from £60 to £120 (including late fee, which is charged if paid after 28 days). However, special circumstances would negate the fee, which is what Angela seems to have applied for.
After the heartbreaking story of undeniable injustice went viral, millions worldwide lent their support to the dying mom, encouraging her to go vacationing with her son anyway. Since then, the school too has taken a U-turn on their previous stance and has allowed Carlo to go on the holiday. The school spokesman said: "Although we knew Ms Kokas had health issues we did not realize the full extent of them. We should have checked further – we didn’t, and we’re very sorry. In the light of this, we will, of course, grant this leave of absence, outside of normal school holiday time.”
Angela, however, is finding it difficult to believe that the school was uninformed about her condition. She asks, "I had to fill in a form to give the reasons I wanted to take my son out of school during term time. I clearly stated that I had terminal cancer, and this could be our last holiday together. I just don't see how they could have made a mistake.”
The single mom-of-three, who also has another 13-year-old son and a daughter aged 18, got famous June this year after BBC reported that she is creating a memory box for each of her three children to have to remember her when she dies. “The boxes mean a lot to me because it’s a part of me that I am going to be giving to them after I actually die. And they’re not finished, still a long way to go and lots of memories to put in it but it’s started,” she had said at the time.
“Being terminally ill, it’s nice to do something and it’s something positive and it makes you feel really happy because you know they are going to get something,” she explained the reason behind making these memory boxed, the idea for which she for from one of her nurses at MacMilan Cancer Support. “I’m not sure of the reaction of the children that they’re going to have when they actually open the memory boxes, but I'm sure there will probably be a few tears. I’m 100 % sure I’m gonna have three smiles on each of my children’s faces... Well, a smile on each of their faces.”