Rays of Resilience

Mom with Terminal Breast Cancer Is Told She Can’t Take Son Out of School for One Last Vacation

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36-year-old Angela Rose was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer over a year ago and told she likely had only one to two years left to live. She and her family have done their best to cope with the devastating news, and one of the ways they’re doing this is by taking one final family vacation this year, which happens to be planned while school is in session, due to the fact that the cost of the trip would be far less expensive during non-peak times of the year.

So Rose applied for her eight-year-old son Carlo to be excused from his classes so he could join his mom, 13-year-old brother, and 18-year-old sister on the family holiday.

“I had to fill in a form to give the reasons I wanted to take my son out of school during term time,” said Rose. “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.”

But the mistake was made all the same. Stanton Middle School, in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, denied her request, claiming that her situation did not fall under the classification of “exceptional circumstances” and that her son’s absence would not be excused, despite his attendance record of 98%.

“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,” she said.

Rose still planned on pulling Carlos out of school for the vacation, but she feared the school would slap her with a £60-120 fine for the offense, which she worried she wouldn’t be able to pay. Cancer has taken its toll not only on this single mom’s body but also on her finances.

Outraged and upset, Rose turned to social media to vent about her distressing situation, posting a letter from the school to her Facebook account. The post received hundreds of comments and shares, and many urged Rose to ignore the school’s decision and take the trip anyway.

Luckily, she wouldn’t have to do that. The school later apologized to Rose and rescinded its decision to require Carlo to stay in school.

“Although we knew she had health issues, we did not realise the full extent of them,” said a school spokesperson.” 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.”

Now Rose and her children can take a much-needed vacation to spend time bonding and making memories that the siblings can cherish forever. We hope her story can be a lesson to other school officials to make sure they fully understand a situation before making decisions that may affect children and their families forever.

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Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?
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