School-shy teen ‘walks in one door, out another’

The frustrated parents of a school-shy teen are dropping the 14-year-old girl off at school — but she is simply walking in one door and out the other.

That is according to Daragh Hassett, solicitor for the secondary school girl’s parents, as he made a plea with Judge Patrick Durcan not to jail the couple.

At Ennis District Court, Mr Hassett said the “unmanageable” girl continues to not go to school on a regular basis in spite of Judge Durcan warning her twice that failure to do so will result in her parents being sent to jail.

Mr Hassett said that the parents “are now getting her to school — but she is simply walking in one door and walking out the other”.

He said: “When she is at school in the morning, she is taking it upon herself to leave school and her parents are called. They try to speak to her at home but she walks out the back door — it is becoming impossible.”

Solicitor for the Child and Family Agency, Kevin Sherry, said that the case has been in court nine times since December and the girl has missed six and a half days out of the 10 days since she was last in court.

Mr Sherry said: “Warnings have been given to this girl and despite the fact her parents could be imprisoned this child defies her parents and refuses to go to school.”

He said there has been “a very slight improvement” in the girl’s attendance record and she has a 44% absenteeism record since the start of the year.

Until December, the girl had a 77.9% absentee rate, missing 53 out of 68 school days.

Mr Hassett said that there has been a complete buy-in by the parents into the case.

“There may been a lack of complete buy-in early but since this case has come to court they have completely bought into the process,” he said. “They are under no illusions and they have observed you in a different case.

Mr Hassett said the relevant act refers to errant children and errant parents, “but we have here an errant child but parents who comply as best they can”.

Judge Durcan fined each parent €200.


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