The worst possible thing that can happen to an eleven-year-old girl happened to Maddie Stevens. She lost her mother when she was in elementary school. Because the death was so tragic, Maddie was distraught. The funeral was held in the middle of the week, and because of the death, Maddie had to miss a day of school. If there was a definition of an excused absence at school, you’d think attending your mother’s funeral would be at the top of the list.
However, the school disagreed. They thought that Maddie was a delinquent for missing school and denied her access to a school trip that she really wanted to take with her friends. The trip was simple. It was a visit to the local restaurant Frank & Benny’s and all of her friends would be there to celebrate the end of the school year. But instead of being invited onto the trip, Maddie was punished for leaving school for one day to attend her mother’s funeral.
The administrators at the St. Giles Junior School in Bedworth, England were relentless with their rules. They did not care that Maddie missed school because of her mother’s funeral; they only cared that she missed school. The class trip was a reward for students with perfect attendance, and because her mother died, Maddie did not have perfect attendance – and therefore was barred from attending the end-of-year trip with her friends.
Maddie lost her mother to breast cancer. It took a toll on the family for two years. Maddie’s mother did the best she could against the devastating disease, but two years after her initial diagnosis, it won and took her life.
Although the school knew that 11-year-old Maddie had suffered through her mother’s death, they still did not want to let a child, even one with an excuse like Maddie’s, to attend the reward trip for the kids with perfect attendance.
Maddie’s father Andy was outraged that the school was punishing his daughter because she had to attend her mother’s funeral.
“Maddie has been absolutely amazing since her mom died. She took only one day off to go to the funeral because we wanted to keep things as normal for her as we could. But even if she’d taken a week off, I’d be saying this.”
Andy could not believe that the English school had no sympathy for Maddie and her horrible situation. Her mother died from cancer, and they were not willing to bend.
“And after all that, she gets this kick in the face,” Andy said. “Her school should be celebrating what she’s achieved, not saying, ‘You can’t come on the school outing because your mom died.’”
Maddie has been an angel since the death of her mother, but the school’s harsh decision broke her heart.
“It made me feel sad not to go. It would have been a nice treat. Helping my mom for the past two years has been hard,” she said.
Her dad added, “I got more and more angry each time I think about it, and I’m amazed they didn’t apologize to Maddie. It feels like they’re now punishing us for complaining about it.”
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