A judge has warned the parents of two “school-shy” children that she will send them both to jail if their children don’t have 100 percent school attendance from now on.
Ilrush District Court has heard that a 15-year-old girl has not attended school at all this school year, while her 11-year-old brother has missed 80 days of 117 school days.
Judge Mary Larkin was told that the girl’s mother informed a Tusla education official that her daughter was not going to school because “she didn’t like it” and was suffering from “anxiety.”
That The social worker said the boy was not going to school because of a “headache” and that he was being bullied at school, but she said there was no evidence to support the allegations of bullying.
The judge said the declaration of fear for the girl was “pulled out of his pocket at the very last minute in the heel of the hunt today”.
She told the mother, “She’ll be scared if you go to jail and she’ll be scared if she doesn’t get an education.”
“If she suffers from anxiety, why haven’t you done something about it?”
The father was not in court and the judge issued an arrest warrant for him. The court was told he worked outside of Co Clare.
The parents were on trial following a prosecution launched by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, over their children’s poor school performance.
The social worker said the girl lives in the family home, which is only 500 meters from her school.
Addressing the mother, the judge said: “I cannot understand why parents deny their child the privilege of an education. Why are you doing this to your child? I can not understand this.”
The judge said The penalty for not going to school is prison, and I have no difficulty if that child is not in school every day and I will send either or both of you to prison.
She told the mother that “denying your children the right to an education is unthinkable.”
“You have a duty to see that your child gets to school, to see that they learn the basics of life, reading, writing and arithmetic.”
“I am shelving this case to ensure 100 percent attendance and I will have no trouble sending any of you to jail.”
The social worker said since the subpoena relating to the 11-year-old boy was issued, there had been 16 days of school and he had been absent six.
The mother’s lawyer, Patrick Moylan, said the boy had Covid-19 on four of those days of absence.
The social worker said she called the parents 15 to 16 times to no avail and set up six meetings.
The judge adjourned both cases in Kilrush District Court until June 21.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/judge-threatens-to-jail-parents-of-truant-children-who-missed-school-over-headaches-and-anxiety-41551119.html Judge threatens to jail parents of truant kids who missed school over ‘headaches’ and ‘anxiety’