Couple who kept child home from school face court
A MOTHER and father who kept their child home from school for almost 200 days claimed it was in response to bullying, social and health concerns.
The parents, who are not named in order to protect their child's identity, fronted Maroochydore Magistrates Court and entered tearful pleas of guilty to two charges each of failing their obligation to ensure their child's attendance.
Police prosecutor Stuart Lydford told the Maroochydore Magistrates Court the child, now aged seven, was absent for 161 days last year and 36 days from January 1 to May 17 this year.
Sgt Lydford told the court during that time the school principal involved police in July this year after repeated failed attempts to contact the parents and arrange appointments.
Defence lawyer Laura Michaelson told the court the subject child had severe health issues and in June was placed on a 21-month waitlist for specialist treatment at Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
She told the court the child was the victim of significant bullying over the past few years and suffered incontinence and vomiting up to three times a week when at school.
"This results then in the child having to be washed and showered by the school community and the parents being called to collect the child," she said.
She said the child had suffered trauma, and had a physical reaction when the parents told him he had to go to school.
Ms Michaelson said the defendants were each aged 43, had no criminal history and lived on a rural Gympie property.
They had seven children aged between two to 20, and six lived at home.
Ms Michaelson told the court the defendants' 11-year-old daughter had no attendance issues at the same school, and the couple planned to home school their boy.
The defendants each entered into a $400 bond to be of good behaviour for two years, with no conviction recorded.
Magistrate Rod Madsen said he hoped they would be motivated in this time to seek proper help and support.
He said there was support available, even in rural communities, to ensure the child received the education they were entitled to.