Battling mum in strife after son misses 100 days of school

A MOTHER was called before an Ipswich court this week for failing to ensure her teenage son attended school.

The court was told the 13-year-old boy was at school only once out of 116 school days.

The mother, who appeared before Ipswich Magistrates Court charged with failing in her obligation as a parent, blames the boy's truancy on schoolyard bullying, saying her son was so fearful that he indicated the intention to arm himself with a knife.

The 35-year-old woman pleaded guilty to the charge.

Prosecutor Senior Constable Carl Spargo said the boy's school passed information on to police on August 1, out of concerns over his lack of attendance.

Sen-Const Spargo said that for 77 of the absent days, the mother gave the school no explanation.

For 39 absent days, the school was told he had toothache, a sore face, or was away for family reasons.

Sen-Const Spargo said the mother was the sole parent who claimed she avoided contact with the school because she was "frustrated and tired of the situation".

When asked about this comment by Magistrate Donna MacCallum, Sen-Const Spargo said he did not know if the mother was referring to the school, to her child, or to both.

Defence lawyer Chelsea Saldumbide said the woman was a single parent with four children aged 7-13.

The court was told the other three children were attending school.

"She instructs that he was significantly bullied," Ms Saldumbide said of the woman's teenage son.

"He came home with facial injuries after a fight. It was the breaking point for that child and he refused to attend school.

"She struggled to get the child to attend, or to attend a doctor for medication for anxiety.

"He was at the point he wanted to arm himself with a knife in fear if he had to go to school."

Ms MacCallum asked if alternative education arrangements could have been made.

Ms Saldumbide said the mother could have explored other possibilities.

She told the court the child and his mother were receiving support with an alternative flexi-school arrangement and the boy had been showing signs of wanting to participate.

Ms Saldumbide said the mother's comment to police about being tired and frustrated referred to the ongoing difficulties she had in trying to get the child to go to school.

Ms MacCallum said she accepted there had been difficulties for the mother.

The mother was fined $200. A conviction was not recorded.



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