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Saturday 23 August 2014

Mother jailed for not sending her three daughters to school

Andrew Phelan

Published 18/01/2013 | 05:00

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A MOTHER of three has been jailed for not sending her children to school.

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The woman, who was described as "too liberal", kept her three girls at home for colds and flu without any doctors' notes, a court heard.

The children missed 28 days from last September – more than a third of the school term. Apart from the illnesses, the Dublin mother, who is in her 30s, alleged that one of the children was being bullied.

But a judge sentenced her to 28 days after being told there was no medical evidence of their illnesses or a bullying complaint.

Activating a previous suspended sentence for keeping her children at home, Judge David McHugh said her household was "chaotic".

A warrant was also issued for her husband when he failed to appear in Blanchardstown District Court to answer similar charges.

The accused, who cannot be named, admitted failing to ensure her children attended school for up to 36pc of the September to December term.

Two of the girls are in second and third class in primary school, while the eldest is in secondary school. The younger girls had missed 27 and 28 days while the eldest had also missed 28 days.

The prosecution was brought by the National Education Welfare Board.

Solicitor Orla Farrell told the court the offences stemmed "not from wilful neglect in parenting terms, but she is sometimes overly indulgent with her children when they present with illness".

One of the children had slapped cheek syndrome for a week and the on-call doctor she saw would not give her a note, said the accused.

Slapped cheek syndrome is a contagious illness that can include flu-like symptoms as well as a rash. Other absences were due to colds and flu.

One of the younger girls was being bullied and would go to school late, said her mother. The girl was "upset every morning" and would not go in unless she held her hand.

Judge McHugh said the board had done everything they could, and he had "no hesitation" in sending the woman to prison.

Irish Independent

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