Couple May Go To Jail For Taking Their Daughter Out Of School To Go On A 5-Day Honeymoon
When newlyweds Janine and Shane Scott took their daughter out of school for a few days, they had no clue that their actions could possibly lead them to jail.
Janine, Shane and their eight-year-old daughter, Elissa, recently went on a dream holiday in New York. At the time, they did not think there would be any issues concerning taking the child out of school in the middle of the term due to the circumstances.
However, by the time they returned, they discovered that they had been ordered to appear at the Teesside Magistrates' Court. They were also directed to pay a £60 fixed penalty. Janine said she had no idea that taking Elissa out of school was considered a strict liability offense and that criminal records could be filed.
It's odd how schools can take children overseas on trips during term time (before half term my daughter visited Holland and Germany) and that is deemed OK, yet when parents do it, it is deemed 'criminal' and detrimental to their education. #DoubleStandards— Antony Wilding (@antwilding23) November 21, 2018
Shane, a Stagecoach bus driver, said that because he worked shift, he could only take a limited time off for the honeymoon. Defending their actions, the couple said Elissa had never had to be absent from school like that before, and that she had a 92.5 attendance in the previous year.
Sounds very spiteful from the school. Good on the parents as long as it was a one off. The fact that they have to pay £300 or potentially face a criminal record is a joke.— Stuart Hackett (@Stueyh111) November 21, 2018
The school reportedly put out a statement saying that the holiday was booked without having a prior discussion with the school and they were only informed when their vacation had started. The school saw this as the parents breaking clear boundaries and said they had to request fixed penalty notices for the rulebreaking.
Parents have 'no regrets' over honeymoon holiday https://t.co/Hhwc3WtwIy— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) November 21, 2018
Apart from the penalty, the couple face up to three months in jail for their action. However, the prosecutors have instead offered them a caution in order to avoid a criminal record. The Scotts would consider taking this deal as the court case has been adjourned.
Taking the caution is the best option as we don't want criminal records, which we've never had, but at the same time, we feel we've done nothing wrong. We feel like we don't just want to roll over for them.
I expect that child learnt far more on this trip, a trip of a lifetime with family is educational & good for mental wellbeing, if the child has a good attendance record they should not be fining parents at all, the law really needs to change on this.— Michele Rickard (@MicheleRickard) November 21, 2018
Is the father right? Do his and his wife's actions to take their kid out of school warrant criminal records and paying a penalty?