A 37-year old pregnant mother has been sentenced to 60 days in jail, because she repeatedly allowed her son to play truant from school. The lady who could not be identified because of her child, fainted at Plymouth Magistrates Court as the sentence was read out. According to the Dailymail, the court heard it was the fifth time the woman has appeared in court over her children’s truancy.
Her son had a 67 per cent attendance record at school between July and October this year.
The woman said that she had ‘tried her best’ and did not dispute the number of days that her child missed school.
Her lawyer told the court that there may have been occasions when he had not gone to school even though she had taken him there or put him on the school bus.
Magistrates heard how the Education Welfare Service had been working with her family since January and the mother already had the suspended jail term hanging over her head in relation to the Education (Welfare) Act.
British law states that parents are legally responsible for ensuring children aged five to 16 attend school regularly, unless they are home educated.
Headteachers, social workers or police can issue parents with penalty notices of up to £120 if a child regularly misses school, and their parents have not taken action or asked for help.
If this is not paid a prosecution will follow, which can lead to a fine of up to £2,500, a community sentence, or even a three-month jail term.
Council officials say that, aside from their education suffering, children who are often absent find it harder to sustain friendships, and are more likely to get involved with crime.