Mum spared jail after son missed 300 days
A Dublin mother whose grieving son missed almost 300 days of school has been spared jail for neglecting his education.
The woman pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to breaking the Education (Welfare) Act by not complying with official warnings about school attendance.
Her son, who will turn 16 later this year, was described as having "no education" as a result of truancy.
The court also heard he had struggled after the death of a close family member.
Judge Anthony Halpin heard the teenager had fallen so far behind at school that he would not be able to catch up with continual assessment work which is now part of the new Junior Certificate curriculum.
The minimum school leaving age is 16 years, or the completion of three years of post-primary education.
The penalty on first conviction is a fine of up to €1,000 and a possible one-month sentence per charge. She was prosecuted by the Child and Family Agency (CFA).
An education and welfare officer told the court the third-year pupil had missed 292 days since he began sixth class in primary school.
The boy missed 59 out of 181, 33pc of days, in sixth class and 78 out of 167 days in his first year of secondary school a absentee rate of 37.5pc.
In his second year of secondary school he was not present on 95 out of 162 days, a rate of 59pc.
So far, in third year, he had missed 60 days and has an absentee rate of just over 70pc, Judge Halpin heard.
His mother had been invited to attend several meetings at the school but only attended one, the court heard.
The defence asked the court to note the mother was apologetic and did not have a previous conviction for this type of offence. Her other children had finished school with Leaving Certificates.
The mother explained her son had not understood when he was previously offered a place in an alternative to mainstream education on a training course. However, he now would like to try it, she said.
Judge Halpin fined her €100.