Mother could face jail after son misses 133 school days

The mother of an 11-year-old boy is facing prosecution after the child missed 133 school days since September.

The woman is facing prosecution by the Child and Family Agency (CFA) at Dublin District Court due to the number of school days her child has missed.

Adjourning the case, Judge John O’Neill warned the woman that there must be an improvement in her son’s school attendance.

She could be fined up to €1,000 and jailed for a month after pleading guilty to breaking the Education (Welfare) Act for not complying with an official warning to ensure her child went to school.

Education and welfare officer Sinéad O’Neill told Dorothy Ware, solicitor for the CFA, that, out of the 150 days of school in the current academic year, the boy “has been absent for 133”.

She added that he had an attendance rate of just 11%.

A school attendance notice was sent to the mother in November and the child has not been back to school since then.

The education and welfare officer said her office has been involved since 2012 and this was the second time a school attendance notice was sent to the woman.

She has not co-operated with the officer despite 15 home visits and 27 letters being sent to her.

Fifteen meetings with the school were arranged but she did not attend any of them, the court was also told.

The child has attended child and adolescent mental services but they have concluded the boy does not have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the judge was told.

The child missed 40 days in the previous school year, and had a 60 % attendance rate in the year before that, Judge O’Neill was told.

Defence solicitor David Stafford said the woman was “desperately sorry” and it may be case that she “put her head in the sand”.

He said that it was a result of “personal issues” and difficulties between her and her partner.

He also said the woman, who did not address the court, was pleading guilty and willing to co-operate with education authorities.

Judge O’Neill warned her that her child would end up before the Children’s Court if he is not in school.



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