Mother facing jail for refusing to send daughter to school for two years because of COVID

Teacher with face mask welcoming children back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.
Lisa Diaz has refused to send her daughter Helena, 9, back to school (stock image). (Getty) (Halfpoint via Getty Images)

A mother is facing jail after keeping her daughter out of school for almost two years because of COVID.

Lisa Diaz, 40, has not sent nine-year-old Helena to primary school in 20 months over fears children could be in danger from coronavirus and long COVID.

She has been hit with letters from Wigan Council threatening her with court action after her daughter's poor attendance became “a cause for concern”.

The authority's welfare team said it would “pursue the route of penalty notices and prosecution”.

Diaz could be fined £2,500 or jailed for three months under the law.

Lisa Diaz has not sent Helena, 9, to primary school since 2020. (Good Morning Britain)
Lisa Diaz appeared on ITV 1's Good Morning Britain. (Good Morning Britain)

Diaz, 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.

During an appearance on ITV1's Good Morning Britain, 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."

Watch: How are schools coping with Covid?

Helena has taken part in outdoor learning activities, but Diaz refuses to send her back to a classroom.

Her son Alex, 12, has since returned to the classroom following his full vaccination after also being kept off school.

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Diaz 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?"

Wigan Council said the school is following government guidance and insisted that “robust risk assessments” were in place to keep children safe.

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.”

Watch: How the world could be better after COVID