Parents of school-shy girl threatened with jail

A judge yesterday told the parents of a 14-year-old school-shy girl to bring her their overnight bags to court on Friday as he threatened both of them with imprisonment.

Parents of school-shy girl threatened with jail

At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan told the pair, “I am deadly serious” when instructing them to bring overnight bags with them to court on Friday.

Addressing the girl’s mother in court, Judge Durcan said: “Unless your daughter is at school tomorrow — and today — she will pay the penalty by not having parents on Friday.”

Judge Durcan added: “I appreciate that you are doing your best, but I am going to have your daughter going to school.”

Solicitor for the Child and Family Agency, Kevin Sherry, said that there has been no underlying reason told to the school why the girl has been missing for some recent school days.

Solicitor for the parents, Daragh Hassett, told the court that the girl had made progress but has taken a step back since her last day in court by missing school days.

Mr Hassett said that the missed days were down to “pure obstinance” from the teen.

“She is a very nice child to talk to and her parents are doing their level, level best,” he said.

“There are days when she goes in with some difficulty, and some days she doesn’t go in.”

The third-year student has presented with an absentee rate of 77.9% to December last where she missed 53 out of 68 school days.

In a separate ‘truant’ case before the court yesterday, Judge Durcan was told that there is now a 100% school attendance rate by a 13-year-old boy.

On the last time the boy’s case was before Judge Durcan on February 24, the judge placed the boy’s divorced parents in the custody area of the court for a number of hours before releasing them.

The boy’s father had just returned from his honeymoon in Australia with his new wife.

In the school year until December, the second-year student was absent 63 out of 71 days — an absentee rate of 88.7%.

The boy’s absentee rate in first year was 45%, where he didn’t attend school on 74 out of 164 days.

The Education Welfare Service has been involved in the case since January of last year, with summons issuing to his parents after all other interventions and strategies failed to improve the school attendance record of the schoolboy.

On the last day in court, Mr Hassett said that his client, the boy’s mother is “powerless” to get her son to school.

He said: “He will do nothing for her.”

Mr Hassett said that the boy’s mother has done everything she can to bring the boy to school “bar putting him over her shoulder and placing him at the school-gate. The boy has her heart broken”.

Since the last court date, the boy has moved in with his father and his school attendance record has been transformed.

Expressing satisfaction with the progress made in the case, Judge Durcan adjourned the case to September to monitor progress in the case.

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