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Hawkinge dad says he'd rather be jailed than pay holiday fine

By Deal Express  |  Posted: August 06, 2012

  • Chris Epps, from Millfield in Hawkinge, pictured at home with kids Alex, Payne, Luco and partner Jazmin

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A FATHER says he would rather go to prison than pay a fine for taking his daughter to Pontins during school term time.

Jobless Chris Epps asked The Churchill School in Hawkinge for permission to take his daughter Jazmin, 7, out of school for a week so she could go on a family trip to Brean Sands Holiday Park.

The school refused, but Mr Epps and his unemployed partner, Alex Payne, 28, headed off to Somerset with Jazmin, Luco, 4, and 18-month-old Jake in March.

The primary school issued the family with a £50 fine, which doubled to £100 after 28 days, and Mr Epps and Miss Payne have now been served summonses to appear before Folkestone Magistrates' Court in September.

Unbowed, the 32-year-old, from Millfield, Hawkinge, said this week: "I'd rather go to prison than pay up, it's the principle."

Mr Epps said the family booked the £140 break during term time because it was cheaper than going in the school holidays, but they were forced to cut the trip short when Jazmin fell sick. He claimed the school initially logged the absence as illness-related but later changed it to unauthorised.

He said: "We'd saved up because we couldn't afford to go anywhere during the school holidays, and it turned out to be the holiday from hell anyway because Jazmin got sick.

"I see it as legalised extortion. The school first classed it as sick, but then went back on their word in their records, they've back-stabbed us. It was only five days, we haven't persistently done this and she hasn't had loads of holidays in her life.

"She's entitled to a holiday and there's no victim here."

The school was unavailable for comment as the Herald went to press, and Kent County Council declined to make a statement.

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  • AlexPayne21  |  September 07 2012, 10:19PM

    Don't make me laugh, voluntary work, why don't you go do some because your ignorant, pay a fine for being completely ignorant to the truth, because we myself and soon to be wife have committed no crime the antisocial behavior law was brought in to stop parent who completely flout rule who consistently don't send there children to school, not parent who unfortunately, have no jobs at the moment but still try there best, and parents who also work and still have to pay a fine for a 5 day holiday get a grip. Were not being antisocial, were trying our best. Any other comments from imbeciles.

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  • AlexPayne21  |  August 10 2012, 10:57PM

    It was a HOLIDAY!!!!And a terrible one at that, I disagree with you about the Voluntary work as I have 3 children to look after, and am a devoted mother. How is that justice for not paying a fine? We are both good parents and put our children first and her happiness is priority, why haven't I got the right as a parent to treat my daughter to some family time, and have fond memories. She needed a break and unfortunately she didn't even get one because she fell very poorly. Jazmin is a hard worker at school and always has beaming reports, she's a bubbly, happy girl that buzz's from life and I think it's important to let her still be the child she is and have fun with our family!!!! I even asked the school for homework and books for her to read so she wouldn't fall behind, what kind of a parent does that make me then when I still asked for work while we were away? Certainly not a bad one.

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  • bunter09  |  August 06 2012, 7:49PM

    Amazing! How can they afford to go on holiday! Why take them to court because they will not physically pay the money as he will just come straight from the government,make them do some voluntary work for an independent business and then some volunteering in a youth club for the next six months to pay for there fine.

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