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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 August 2006, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
Couple jailed for girl's truancy
Christopher and Deborah Haine
The couple were in court for breaching a suspended sentence
A Newport couple have been jailed for four months for failing to ensure their 14-year-old daughter went to school.

Newport magistrates heard Shlaine Haine had a long record of truancy. From January to July 2006 she was at school for only six out of a possible 113 days

Christopher and Deborah Haine, both 41, had already been fined and given a suspended jail term over the truancy.

Magistrates chair Anthony Harris said the pair had shown a complete contempt for the law and efforts to help them.

Magistrates were told the Haines were first prosecuted in 2002 for failing to ensure Shlaine attended Hartridge High School.

They were in court on Tuesday for breaching a suspended prison sentence imposed in January after their daughter failed to go to school at all in the 54 possible days between May and September 2005.

We welcome the judgement of the magistrates in a case where both support and warnings have gone unheeded over such a lengthy period of time
Newport Council

But magistrates heard that since then there had been more persistent truancy, with Shlaine only attending school six times in six months.

Magistrates were told that efforts had been made repeatedly to get the teenager back to school, including offering her part-time education tailored to her because she had fallen behind in her studies because of her absences.

The couple's solicitor said the parents came from an "educationally difficult" background and had made "every effort" to make Shlaine attend school.

But he said the girl had "issues" in her life and simply refused to attend classes.

Hartridge High School in Newport
Shlaine Haine is a Year 9 pupil at Hartridge High School

On one occasion when the teenager did go to school, two girls jeered at her saying she could not read or write, the court heard.

Newport Council said the prosecution highlighted its commitment to education.

In a statement, it said its education welfare service had worked closely on the case, but the teenager persistently failed to attend school.

"We welcome the judgement of the magistrates in a case where both support and warnings have gone unheeded over such a lengthy period of time," the council said.

David Evans, secretary of NUT Cymru, said cases such as this were "extreme" and he said he did not believe the problem of truancy was getting worse.

"We obviously have to have some concerns about whether or not going to jail is the way forward," he said.

"You have to question who is this penalising - the parents or the child?"




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
"Jailing of parents for children who persistently truant is rare"



SEE ALSO
Mother jailed over girl's truancy
22 Mar 06 |  South Yorkshire
Truancy mother released from jail
02 Mar 06 |  Northamptonshire
Reasons underlying school truancy
19 Jul 05 |  Education
Truancy mother allowed home
27 Sep 04 |  South West Wales



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