A COUPLE with an address in Bantry could face up to 30 days in prison and/or a fine of up to €1,000 for not sending their son to school.
Judge James McNulty found Anna Mucha and Rafel Rejdych, of The Slip, Bantry, guilty at a district court sitting in Bantry last week, following their 15-year-old son’s full absence from school for 68 days and his partial absence for 46 days in 2021.
However, solicitor Denise Kirwan, acting on behalf of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla), told the court that the teenager had shown a marked improvement in attending school since the case had first come before the court and that he was due to sit his Junior Cert in June.
Judge McNulty heard that the boy, who wanted to leave school, was unaware of the serious problems he could cause his parents for not attending.
‘He did not understand that he had to attend school until he was 16 and he did not know that failing to attend would cause his parents such problems,’ solicitor Flor McCarthy told the court.
‘The good news is that he is a very bright young man.’
However, Judge McNulty asked if the parents had any ‘moral authority’, to ensure that this ‘very bright young man’ attended school?
‘It focuses the mind when you’re before the district court. They’ve grasped how serious this is now,’ Mr McCarthy said.
Judge McNulty convicted both Anna Mucha and Rafel Rejdych but adjourned the case for review and deferred penalty until the autumn.
Mr McCarthy informed the court that the teenager will be 16 by then and legally able to leave school.
‘The parents will still have moral authority. We’ll see what progress will have been made. This is a matter of the parents coming under the scrutiny of the court,’ Judge McNulty said.