Education Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly is reminding parents and students that the latter are required to attend school by law.
The statement came in response to questions from Newsday after several reports were received of parents refusing to send their children in forms four-six back out to school.
In a WhatsApp response to Newsday, Gadsby-Dolly said the system used for monitoring absent students would continue to be used.
“Students are required to attend school by law. There is a set protocol for reaching out to absent students through Student Support Services, and this will continue and be closely monitored.”
The Education Act 39:01, Section 77, says “it shall be the duty of the parent of every child of compulsory school age to cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude, by regular attendance at a school.”
Section 78 says a child is excused from attendance from school if, “in the opinion of the minister, he is receiving satisfactory instruction at home or elsewhere; he is unable to attend school by reason of sickness or other unavoidable cause; he is excluded from attendance at school under any written law; he is absent temporarily as authorised under the regulations.”
Under the same act, school attendance officers can, at the request of the parent, deliver to the school or the parent, any child found illegally absent from school.
The act also says that parents whose children are of compulsory school age who neglect or refuse to allow them to go to school unless legally excused, are liable to, on summary conviction to a fine of $75. It also says that the magistrate can require the parent to give a bond of $300 with one or more sureties on the condition that the parent sends the child to school after five days.
Gadsby-Dolly said she did not think those measures would be needed.
“With the help of Social Development for financial support where necessary, and the Community Police to locate parents that Student Support Services cannot, it is not usual to reach that far. The goal isn't to lock up parents- it is to provide the necessary support get our children in school.”
The minister did not respond to questions about whether she thought these measures would become necessary owing to parents’ fear of covid19 and/or the vaccine.