Mum in court for not taking her child to school

A FRASER Coast woman got in trouble with the law for not taking her child to school.

Her daughter, a primary school student, missed 115 days of school last year, Hervey Bay Magistrates Court heard last week.

But the woman's defence lawyer Warren Hunter said it was not her fault as the nine-year-old simply refused to go.

"The child dictated the terms in the household," Mr Hunter said.

"There were assaults on the mother, there was wilful disobedience.

"The mother tried to get her ready for school and the child just wouldn't do it.

"I don't know what I would do either."

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Donna Sperling said the school was not notified by the mother about most of the absences.

When police asked the woman for an explanation she attributed the absences to family tragedies, including the death of a pet, Snr Const Sperling said.

The court heard the woman has three other older children, all of whom have attended school regularly.

The young girl now lives in Maryborough with her father. It was not known whether she was now attending school.

Saying that 115 days was a "long time" for the young girl be absent from school, Magistrate Stephen Guttridge told the woman she should have explored more options and had better communication with the school.

Rather than fining the mother, Mr Guttridge placed her under a reconnaissance of $300, meaning that if she did not reoffend she would be released without penalty.

The woman has not been named to protect the identity of the child.

A Department of Education spokesman said parents have a legal obligation to ensure children attend school.

"Prosecution of parents may occur if they do not fulfil their legal obligation regarding their child's attendance at school," the spokesman said.

"However, prosecution is seen as a last resort and would occur after substantial effort has been made by the school and regional staff to engage with the parents."


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