Brighton court tags parent of persistent truants

Posted On 29 Jan 2010 at 8:03 am

A parent who repeatedly failed to send their two children to school has been forced to wear an electronic tag to ensure they comply with a court curfew.

The unusual sentence was passed by Brighton Magistrates Court, which heard that one child, a five-year-old, had attended just 15% of lessons. Their elder sibling, a 14-year-old, had a 70% attendance record.

Both the children’s parents pleaded guilty to failing to ensure their regular attendance at school, an offence the pair have four previous convictions for.

Both were given a parenting order and 12 month conditional discharges – but the conditions are stringent.

The court ordered the curfew should last between 8pm to 7am with electronic tagging for three months. The other parent was ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

No costs were awarded to the local authority because of the couple’s financial circumstances, but they were warned that breach of the conditional discharge could mean a sentence of up to £2,500 and/or three months imprisonment.

The parenting order, which lasts 12 months, includes three months of counselling and guidance sessions under supervision including the possibility of parenting classes.

Councillor Vanessa Brown, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This is a clear signal to the very small minority of parents that fail to ensure their children attend school regularly that the council and the courts take this seriously. All parents of school age children have a moral and legal obligation to ensure their child regularly goes to school as every lesson counts for children.

“The council will prosecute any parent who continually fails to fulfil their legal responsibility and who fails to cooperate with the education welfare service.”

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