Athens cracks down on parents who refuse to send their children to school because of COVID-19 measures such as mask-wearing or testing. Athens, Greece – Parents who do not send their children to school because of COVID-19 measures will face a two-year prison sentence and a fine, the Greek government has said – the latest move by Athens which appears to target people who deny critical features of the pandemic, such as vaccination, mask-wearing or testing. School attendance until the age of 16 has long been compulsory in Greece, but until now, the penalty for non-enrollment was 59 euros ($67). “We could not tolerate the phenomenon of parents keeping children from school,” Alexandros Koptsis, general secretary for primary and secondary education at the education ministry, told Al Jazeera. “This happens for inconceivable reasons, like not wanting your child to wear a mask.” The ministry legislated an amendment to the penal code on Tuesday. “If a prosecutor deems it necessary, parents could even be deprived of custody,” Koptsis recently told a local radio station. He told Al Jazeera this was based on standing law and was “entirely up to prosecutors”. The ministry will not pursue parents directly, but is providing headteachers with legal tools. “We are showing schools a general [policy] direction, and it will then be up to principals to call prosecutors,” Koptsis said. Students chat as they arrive in their high school in an Athens suburb on April 12, 2021 [File: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP] Parents convicted with two-year imprisonment will not necessarily be severed from their children, because sentences of up to five years can be bought out at rates set by the courts, based on convicts’ income. Reported cases of parents refusing to enrol their children are currently few, and t . . . read the full article here.