Today I maybe blogging from a prison cell

2 Jul

Yep, I may well be a jail bird blogging from my cell (well, that’s if I’m actually given access to a computer that is)!

It’s 3 am and I haven’t slept a wink, I’m busy preparing my defence case (representing myself). This afternoon I’ll be of to court where I will need to prove that I didn’t intentionally keep my daughter home from school on the days she was sick.

I’ve been prosecuted twice before in relation to my sons school attendance. I was found guilty of section 444(1) failing to secure his attendance at school. I was found guilty because having a child with Aspergers who wasn’t receiving appropriate support causing him to develop school phobia and emotional behavioural problems, didn’t come within the statutory guidelines needed for them to allow me to walk with my head held high.

Statutory guidelines (“excuses”) only cover a handful of reasons for non attendance! These include illness, religion, travelling, and a few others that don’t cover incidents such a mental health, bullying and all those other reasons we find our children refusing to attend school, therefore creating a war zone come 8:50 am in the morning.

Such behaviour meant my daughters attendance struggled. However this was mainly lateness which gave her an unauthorised mark against her name (yes she was in but if the register was called she was given a half day absence against her name) When you have mornings like ours these marks tend to add up quickly!

Regardless of the above, once little man began attending his special school things slowly got back on track. Alice was given a little independence when I allowed her to walk the 2 minute walk down the hill to school.

With this things improved, I thought that with Little man in a new school I would have less to worry about. Sadly I was wrong.

If any of you have read the blog long enough you will already understand the struggles I had to get my son to school, a place that could not meet his SEN needs leaving him somewhat school phobic. My daughter suffered, what with being made late for school when big brother was hitting and spitting at mum. The fact the household received very little sleep because Little man doesn’t frankly believe in the five letter word is just another contributing factor.

When I was in court last, my mobile vibrated as the judge was speaking. When they retired I checked my phone only to discover a message from the Head teacher informing me Little man was yet again excluded, this time for 5 days. The head teacher was meant to be at court but instead had provided them with the information requested claiming he had meetings! I wasn’t found guilty of the more serious charge 444(1A) (which basically means the school were stating I had no intention on sending them into school… Yer right! I could actually do with the break.) However, I did receive a fine for the lesser charge of 444(1). Basically I couldn’t say he was sick on each of those days. He had received so many exclusions that these were now starting to confuse me. I’d spent so long trying to get him into a routine and now it was being wrecked. Ok, they couldn’t find me guilty on these days but they could of those that followed, the ones where he refused to attend, kicking and screaming.

The above made me so angry as I was fighting for a statement and having my child excluded every week didn’t help. I was also in the process of a claim against the school for discrimination which I won (settled out of court).

I eventually got my son out of the mainstream school and into an independent special school. There was however a period of time when he was educated in a library because the LEA would not agree to my school yet no state school would take him.

So, where does Alice fit in? Well, despite her improvement in getting there on time and therefore attending as she should, during the months of October through to January her attendance dropped. This was due to a reoccurring sickness bug which the school kept sending her home for. Then in January she had a very bad water infection that saw her on medication and close to hospitalisation. All days were covered. I had sent notes in, explained via email or visited the school in person.

They deny this! As a result I am being taken to court as my daughters attendance was recorded to have dropped to 80% with no reason given!

It would seem that the school have failed to log my letters or just chosen to ignore them. After all its up to them to authorise.

Lucky for me I requested her education records and obtained copies of some of these letters. Others were missing. Emails and records on verbal conversations have vanished as if they never existed.

I refused to plead guilty. My daughters attendance is near on 90% as it stands. I feel victimised by the school and LEA due to past difficulties.

The school state that a child must remain home if physically sick for a period of 48 hours. Nonetheless, when abiding by these policies, Alice receives an unfair mark against her name.

Now… I can’t just call up and get an emergency appointment with the GP because Alice is being sick. In the eyes of a GP an emergency this isn’t. There is nothing they can give her for sickness, So… it’s a waste of their time. We just keep her hydrated and comfortable.The thing is she may be sick the night before and just fine in the morning, yet when I tell staff she has been sick (purely because it wouldn’t be fair not to) we are sent jogging!

Shockingly, it also seems that despite her bad urine infection which I provided medical evidence in order to cover ourselves for, school still have it down as “N” in their attendance records which basically means “No reason given” what’s worse is that I called them, wrote to them and sent an email! Worse still, on one of these days she was actually sent home!

Under the freedom of information and data protection acts I was able to gain access to my daughters educational records, requesting things I wanted copied. Yes I was pleased to discover some of the items I needed to form my case were sat there right under my nose. Yet, I was also sadden to discover others were not (which worries me).

Within a few minutes of being given my daughters records I made the most horrific discovery! I was left sitting in a pool of tears as I tried to collect my thoughts. Ive decided to write this in another post… Why? Because in just a few hours I’ll be heading to court and I know writing about what’s worrying me will only make me feel worse… Basically it’s something I’ve put to the back of my mind because I need to focus on my court hearing.

I will therefore return when time permits.

So, I best go jump in the tub and get ready for yet another long winded court case where I’m sadly the defendant who abided by a schools policy and got her arss kicked for doing so.

Heres hoping I’m not gonna be made a jail bird… Here’s hoping I’ll be home tomorrow with my kids, blogging where I should be.

20120703-113623.jpgphoto credit google images

20 Responses to “Today I maybe blogging from a prison cell”

  1. Lisa July 9, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. I hope it all gets sorted out and the school treats you and your family with more respect. The school’s attitude is shocking.

  2. stephstwogirls July 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    So not fair. I’m angry for you. What do they expect you to do? My ASD girl has just had 7 out of the last 8 days off school, and I’m not sure she’ll be going back next week, although it is down to illness. I’m thinking now I need to get hold of some paperwork to prove it though – as if I haven’t got enough worries trying to look after her in the first place? Surely common sense is being lost, surely they can tell good mothers who are trying to do the best for their children? Hang on in there x

  3. HELEN July 6, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    this is awful…..thinking of you & I hope you get it sorted without too much more stress xx

  4. liveotherwise July 6, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    Oh good grief. I can’t believe the school are putting you through this. Perhaps you need to get receipts for every note you submit? I hope it went ok for you.

  5. Notmyyearoff July 5, 2012 at 4:01 am #

    Good luck today, I hope it all goes well. The school sounds really shocking. I know this doesn’t help you right now but you need to switch on email alerts like “delivered” and “read receipt”. That way even if they delete stuff you can show the evidence.

  6. Lynda@orchardtoys July 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Was horrified when I read this, poor you. You are brave and strong and will not be down trodden, hang in there.

    It would be a good idea to keep a note of every phonecall to the school, the date time and subject, what you said, to whom you spoke (especially important to get the name), etc. Similarly with all written notes, emails, letters keep copies to back up what you have said, and when – hopefully you may never need them, but if you do, you will be really pleased you kept a record.

  7. Ann July 4, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    Oops I realise I’m a day late – so glad you’re home and so sorry you’re going through so much turmoil.

  8. Ann July 4, 2012 at 6:57 am #

    Good luck – you’re story is oh so familiar, I have my own school refuser and at one point was threatened with court – luckily the welfare officer was human and refused to take the legal route because she could see that as a mother I was doing everything possible to help the situation (which you clearly are too). My son is back in school (on and off), has been excluded regularly and we’re now fighting for a statement – if I could afford to home school I would but sadly circumstances won’t permit it.
    You’re clearly a dedicated mother and very articulate, breath deeply, stay calm and tie them in knots! Today I have to face an appeal panel due to my other son being permanently excluded – I too obtained his file and discovered so many failures that I had to make a stand – hopefully I will be able to follow my own advice, I’m breathing deeply, trying to stay calm and will definitely tie them in knots!
    I’ll be thinking about you and wish you all the luck in the world – if we don’t make these stands the SEN situation in our education system will just get worse.
    Go girl 🙂

  9. 1funmum July 4, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    Get out of town! Do you know how many Canadians would be locked up right now. This can’t be true is it. Get out! Read the blog well written hope you get off this bum rap! Lol it’s not funny i know. but wow. I felt like is this for real. I’m feeling lucky to be a Canadian right now. We save jail time for real crimes.

  10. Bec Waterhouse July 3, 2012 at 10:08 pm #


    I know it’s not for everyone, but have you considered home schooling?

  11. romanianmuminlondon July 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

    Sending you hugs honeu!

  12. amandaspatch July 3, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    Oh this makes me so mad for you and so very, very sad that this is the way you and your family are being treated. I just cannot understand how they could act like this and I really hope that the court case brings to light their failure to log all the conversations with you down properly. I cannot imagine having to face this and I am just hoping things work out as best they can for you.

  13. Deb at aspieinthefamily July 3, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    When my son first stopped attending school (2009), we could tell we were being treated with suspicion by the professionals. We could feel that our parenting was being questioned even if noone said anything. We had to fight for months to prove to them that our sons school refusing and mental health problems was due to the school not supporting him and eventually we managed to convince them that it was not due to poor parenting but rather the education system. (I went to CAMHS for a diagnosis and applied for a statement of SEN, which believe it or not was rejected the first time round.) But I will never forget what it did to us; not only was I forced to drop all plans of working and studying but I had to become a FT carer and advocate for my son. The pressure was incredible and I ended up close to a nervous breakdown which, if I’m honest, I do not think I have totally recovered from.

    Now my aspergers daughter is also school refusing not due to me or my husband’s parenting but the education system. Again, like last time I had to show that that my daughters absence was due to her SEN and the school not supporting her. Fortunately we had the support of a good educational psychologist but it was clear the school were against us.

    I’m really sorry to hear you’re going through this Claire and I hope someone can see what your family have been through and show some understanding.

  14. clairelouise82 July 3, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    Thanks for all the comments. I’m not in jail but emotionally worn out to the max. I’ll update soon… The system is broken and I’m close to breaking point trying to mend it.x

  15. Mum July 3, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    I am potential in a very similar situation, and could do with your wisdom and advice!

    It’s disgraceful how both your son’s and daughter’s school have reacted, and I wonder how some people sleep at night (obviously its not an option for parents like ourselves lol). I think it’s wonderful that you have the courage to stand up for how this system fails so many children.

    Best of luck

  16. Violets Diary July 3, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Good luck – this system just gets worse and worse – there’s nothing like kicking people when they’re down. I’ve taken to emailing all correspondence and getting read receipts. but life sucks when you have to go into that much detail. As if you need all this as well as managing the challenges of asperger’s and general family life. xx

  17. Emily July 3, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    This is so disgraceful! What a ridiculous system, feel so angry on your behalf after reading that. I hope they see sense when you visit the court but can’t believe you are even having to go. Madness!! 😦

  18. Anya from Older Single Mum July 3, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Goodness me – it’s one shock after another. You have every reason to hold your head up high – it’s the others who should hold their heads in shame. Best of luck – sounds like you’re going to need it. Exactly where do they hold your childrens interests?


  1. Best of the UK Parent Blogs: Ten at Ten (65) | Tots 100 - July 6, 2012

    […] A Boy With Aspergers prepares for prison. This is a lady who has had a real battle over the education of her children, culminating with a court appearance over her son’s low attendance at school. Follow the saga. It’s heartbreaking, frustrating reading. […]

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