A school headmistress is forcing parents to pay for their kids’ lunch – by threatening their children with lunchtime in isolation.

Headmistress of Michaela Community School in London Katharine Birbalsingh, sent letters home to parents who were behind on payments by one week, their children threatened with detention.

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The letter was shared online by unemployed single mother Dionne Kelly. It threatened that if she didn’t pay up the £75 apparently owed, her son would be placed into “lunchtime isolation”.

Kelly received the letter just two weeks after her son started at the school, before her application for free meal tokens had gone through

Since being shared online, the letter has gone viral. Outraged members of the general public shared their views on the school’s strict policy. Many couldn’t believe that the children threatened with detention were facing humiliation because of something out of their control.


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The headmistress was quick to defend herself. As a result of parent’s missing payments, radical methods were needed.

What do you think? Is the school just doing what it thinks is right in light of a difficult financial situation? Or are they totally in the wrong to punish the child? Let us know by joining the conversation on our Facebook page.