Mother whose child was “removed” by armed police for not wearing mask at school seeks retribution

“I am going to present a formal complaint against the school director, the Social Services employee (involved) and the judge that ordered my daughter to go and live with her grandmother. I am going to find out the best way to get justice”.

These are the words of Paula Pinto, the woman whose 12-year-old daughter was forcibly removed from their home after missing classes due to her refusal to wear a mask at school.

The school had refused to accept Leonor on the basis of a doctor’s letter, which stated that she couldn’t wear a mask due to the fact that she suffered blinding headaches when she did.

Their understanding – and the interpretation of Social Services – was that Leonor was being influenced by her mother, and therefore should be removed from her mother’s custody.

Judge Pedro Gonçalves Pacheco accepted this thesis – to the extent that he was not apparently prepared to listen to the protestations of Leonor.

The 12-year-old is now back with her mother, after Paula Pinto weighed in with a legal challenge.

Leonor has told tabloid Correio da Manhã: “I was so worried that they would send me to an institution. They told me that I would have to wait two months before I could go home, and that I could only go home if my mother and I followed the rules imposed by the court. If we didn’t, I would go to an institution…”

The child described how she “missed the hugs, the food, the series we used to watch together” after five armed GNR agents manhandled her out of her mother’s apartment on the orders of the judge.

“Only time will let me forgive what that judge did”, she told the paper (which accepts that it may be hard to believe a 12-year-old can be so eloquent. “But those were the words” of Leonor, who has clearly been through an ordeal that no child should be subjected to – particularly when her mother had a doctor’s letter explaining the difficulties the youngster was experiencing with the imposition to wear a mask throughout the school day).

It wasn’t Paula Pinto, nor was it Leonor, who opted to skip classes. The absenteeism resulted from the school refusing to accept Leonor on the basis of the doctor’s letter. The inference always was that Paula Pinto was somehow a dangerous pandemic negationist who was using her child as a foil for her narrative.

“They were all complicit”, Paula Pinto told CM. “They constructed their own narrative with a view to removing my daughter from my care. As they were all friends and I am not from this area, they protected each other”.

CM has previously explained that Paula Pinto and Leonor have decided to move away from the area of Vila Pouca de Aguiar, in the hope of rebuilding a much happier existence.

“Slowly mother and daughter are recovering the time they lost”, says the paper. “The time that was stolen from them”.

For the background to this story, click here.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com