Teenager refusing to go to school, says mother

Kevin Hughes

A KILLARNEY mother has told Killarney District Court that her teenage daughter simply refuses to go to school and there's nothing she can do about it.

The mother, originally from Poland, is being brought to court by the National Education Welfare Board who claim that the girl previously had a 95 per cent absenteeism record and has not attended school at all since the action was initiated.

The single mother in her 30s has already pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to cause her daughter to attend school without a lawful excuse and she appeared visibly shaken as an interpreter translated proceedings at last week's sitting of Killarney District Court.

The charge could result in a fine or up to a month in jail.

Solicitor Padraig O'Connell told the court that the girl had steadfastly refused to attend school and that her mother had spoken to the school about the situation and was fully co-operating with the courts."Is she obliged to catch the girl by the ear and bring her to the classroom? Well she has brought her to the door and has even attempted to bribe her, but to no avail," the Mr O'Connell said.

"I propose a psychological assessment but she is not even going to the doctor," he added.

The court heard that the girl would fail to meet secondary school attendance requirements as she has not completed three years of post-primary education.

Labelling the matter a "sad situation", Judge James O'Connor said the scenario could not be allowed to develop further. "It only takes one child... the child can't have it every which way," he remarked.

The case was adjourned until December 17 for the defence to check case law on school age requirements and just what constitutes 'a lawful excuse' under the wording of the charge.


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