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Mum's considered starving truant child

PUBLISHED: 21:27 30 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:15 03 March 2010

A JAIL threat again hangs over the head of a Stowmarket mum whose teenage son refuses to go to school.

Rita Savill is at her wits end after Suffolk County Council has threatened to prosecute her because her 13-year-old son Leon, refuses to attend Stowmarket Middle School.

A JAIL threat again hangs over the head of a Stowmarket mum whose teenage son refuses to go to school.

Rita Savill is at her wits end after Suffolk County Council has threatened to prosecute her because her 13-year-old son Leon, refuses to attend Stowmarket Middle School.

She has thought of everything – even starving her son to get him to school – but decided she couldn't because it would be rendered child abuse.

This week a pregnant woman was behind bars over Christmas, after her 11-year-old played truant.

Tearful Rita, featured in the Star in June, said the latest letter she received showed her son has only attended 14 sessions out of 50. Each session is a half-day. A further four absences were authorised because of illness.

He has to go back to school this term or Rita will get a final letter and then legal proceedings will start.

Mum-of-six Rita, 47, told The Star: "I am terrified about going to prison for even a day, let alone a week or a month. Leon's never been a good attender at school, but it has got significantly worse.

"The school over the last few years have been very positive and tried to encourage him, even suggesting he goes on a part-time basis. But Leon has thrown it back in their faces.

"When he was little you could physically take him there. It was a lot easier, but you can't now. It is physically impossible. He's a big lad. I have tried everything to get him to school.

"I didn't have any problems with this with my other children. I know there is a stigma attached to single mothers, but the person who was jailed over Christmas was married."

Leon, of Silverdale Avenue, has refused to talk to the education welfare officer. Even the headteacher paid him a visit to give him a talking to – but to no avail.

Rita says she's frightened of her son, who has violent tendencies. He hasn't been diagnosed with any disorder, and spends long days at home watching TV or lying in bed.

She said: "He's way behind with his schoolwork and I've fears for his future. I'm extremely concerned he is turning into a slob. He's got no prospects whatsoever.

"For parents that encourage their children to stay home, that is irresponsible and should be punished. But I haven't. Leon should be taken to court to face the magistrates."

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