Parents in court

CHILDREN accused of playing truant are today landing 17 parents in court – all facing a possible three-month jail term.Courts have tough penalties at their disposal for parents who fail to get their children to school, including prison or a £2,500 fine.

CHILDREN accused of playing truant are today landing 17 parents in court – all facing a possible three-month jail term.

Courts have tough penalties at their disposal for parents who fail to get their children to school, including prison or a £2,500 fine.

And Suffolk County Council has promised to prosecute when youngsters are not getting the education guaranteed by law.

Today's hearings will see the attendance of 13 high school students and one primary pupil called into question at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court.


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But a council spokeswoman said it was simply administrative procedure to call a large number of cases to court at the same time.

She stressed the council was constantly looking at ways of tackling truancy, but said it was not a new crackdown that had landed the parents in hot water.

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Nine of the pupils are from Ipswich, four from Felixstowe and one from Woodbridge. There are eight high schools involved and one primary.

Council assistant education officer Elizabeth Maloney said court action would be used when necessary.

But she said council experts would work with troubled families to try and stop things reaching the courts.

She said: "It is a parent's responsibility to make sure their children are

attending the school where they are registered, so that they can receive the

education they are entitled to

"We have to ensure that this is happening.

"Taking parents to court is one of the tools we have to ensure young people are returned to school, but we also do a lot of work with parents to support them in fulfilling their legal responsibilities before we get to this stage."

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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