Judges orders teen truant to decide which of his parents goes to jail


A judge has ordered a teenage truant to choose which of his parents should go to jail for failing to ensure he attended school.

Judge Alan Mitchell told the youth he must choose whether his mum or dad will be jailed for 21 days and which of the two will receive a suspended sentence.

The incredible ruling came during a case brought against the boy's parents at Galway District Court.

The 15-year-old from Galway is a repeat truant and continued missing school even after he was made aware of the possible legal consequences for his parents.

Judge Mitchell said: "He can consider which of his parents he wants to go to prison for 21 days and which gets the suspended sentence."

He said that if needs be the teenager should attend Galway District Court today to make the decision.

"If every teenage child could direct whether to go to school or not there would be anarchy in this country," the judge said.

According to the Irish Independent, Paul McCavera, Galway city education welfare officer with the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB), told the court that the 15-year-old had missed 91 days of school out of 114 this school year to date.

Both parents had previously been summonsed to court but the father had failed to attend, resulting in a bench warrant being issued for him.

Mr McCavera agreed with a solicitor for the family, Alma Whelan, that the teen had no interest in attending school.

However, he rejected the suggestion that the family had done everything they could to persuade him to attend.

"He does not have any special education needs and there are no discipline issues in the school. He is not disruptive, as a child he is very pleasant," added Mr McCavera.