Truant teen: I don’t care if mum is jailed

Truancy officers at work in Wigan
Truancy officers at work in Wigan

THE parents of a Wigan school pupil who said he did not care his truancy could result in them going to prison have been handed a court sanction.

The couple received a community order having appeared before the courts for the same offence, for the same child, last year.

With a difficult teenager it can be quite, quite hard work to do anything but there is some light at the end of the tunnel and I hope with help these parents are getting nearer that light

Peter Moran - defending

They had received a conditional discharge on that occasion but the 15-year-old’s attendance rates had not improved and remained below the 85 per cent required rate.

The court heard the male pupil had told his mother “he doesn’t care that she will go to prison” if he did not go to school.

And in desperate attempts to persuade him to attend, his parents had “taken his computer games away from him and turned off the electricity”.

Local authority officers had visited the family on a number of occasions but there was no improvement in his attendance.

Alison Henderson, prosecuting on behalf of Wigan Council, said the teenager’s father had said his son “had lost all faith and would not listen to anyone”.

But the court was told that a multi-agency meeting had been scheduled to discuss the boy’s future which had been welcomed by the family.

And a move to another school was their desired choice, the court heard.

Peter Moran, defending, said the 15-year-old was a “difficult teenager” and the family had a number of health issues.

He added: “With a difficult teenager it can be quite, quite hard work to do anything but there is some light at the end of the tunnel and I hope with help these parents are getting nearer that light.”

By law, local authorities have the power to intervene if they believe a child is not receiving education. Parents or guardians are legally responsible for making sure children attend regularly.

Magistrates revoked the conditional discharge imposed in May last year and the teenager’s mother was ordered to undertake 60 hours of unpaid work. His father had a curfew order imposed for six weeks. Each was ordered to pay a £50 fine and a victim surcharge of £60. Both had pleaded guilty.