Girl (14) did not go to school for a year, Naas Court hears

Parents attended court, which was told that the girl had been the victim of bullying at school

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Girl (14) did not go to school for a year, Naas Court hears

The case was heard at Naas District Court

A couple whose child has not gone to school for a year appeared before Naas District Court.

The couple are defending their role in the issue after being brought to Naas District Court by the Child and Family Agency (Tusla).

The defence solicitor asked for more time for a report to be prepared on the 14-year-old girl. The agency is pushing for the process to be speeded up. It told Judge Desmond Zaidan that the girl had not been in school for a year.

The male defendant, the girl’s father, said they had tried to bring her to school, even to the point of restraining her in their car and taking her to the door of the school.

Judge Zaidan said that it should not have taken this long to produce a report. The case first went back to October 2017.

He asked what was thought to be the problem. The father then said his daughter was bullied at her school. “We tried everything,” he said.

The court was told that a psychological assessment was being made shortly, but Tusla and the judge were anxious that this did not take too long. Judge Zaidan said it was a last resort that the Child and Family Agency would bring a case to court.

At one point in the proceedings, the defendant father indicated that he was unhappy with the role of the authorities in the matter and began to get emotional.

He was calmed by his defence team who also said that it was agreed by everybody involved in the proceedings that the girl would have to repeat first year at school. “The sooner the report is ready and the case is heard the better for the child,” said Judge Zaidan.

He went on to say that the case was ultimately about the child’s welfare. “One way or the other, the child needs help,” he said.

He also said the Department of Education was not there to punish the parents, but help the child.

He adjourned the case for four weeks until May 23 for the report to be presented.

Tusla asked that the hearing be marked peremptory against the defendants on that day. This means that if they say they not ready, the case will go ahead regardless.

Judge Zaidan agreed to do this.

He also asked the defendants to have the doctor preparing the report on the 14 year old to be present in court to answer questions from all sides.