Gympie mum fined for not forcing kids to go to school
A GYMPIE mum has been fined $200 for not forcing her two children to go to school.
The woman, 45, pleaded guilty to the Education Act breach when she appeared in Gympie Magistrates Court on October 14.
Police told the court James Nash State High School authorities had made 15 attempts to engage with the woman, including by registered letters, because of her two children's hundreds of unexplained absences from school in 2018 and 2019.
Police told the court the Education Act required school attendance by all children from six and-a-half to 16 years old.
The woman's children were not registered for home schooling.
One child had failed to attend school, without explanation, on 148 days last year and 80 this year up to August 2. The other had 156 unexplained absences last year and 80 this year.
Police were notified and the woman told them she was powerless to force the two children and could not "physically drag them to school."
Police noted a number of unopened letters in front of the woman's home, including some from the school.
"She was extremely emotional and agitated and knew the letters were in relation to her children not attending school," police told the court.
"The children were present and were upset that their mother would have to attend court because of their failure to attend school," the prosecutor said.
Police arranged to come back later and the mother had then told them the children had now begun attending school.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan told the woman it was her job to make the children go to school and urged her to "give them a chance."
They would find life a lot easier with an education, particularly a tertiary education, beyond high school, he said.
"You've got to be responsible.
"Your children are going to be much better off with an education.
"Give them a chance by being the adult. They're the kids.
"They might say they don't want to go to school but you've got to be the adult and tell them they've got to go," Mr Callaghan said.
He noted the maximum penalty of six penalty units, which he said were currently about $135 each and fined her $200.