Dad Loses Court Battle for Taking Daughter Out of School to Vacation at Disney World

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Dad Loses Court Battle for Taking Daughter Out of School to Vacation at Disney World 1

British dad Jon Platt, 46, took his daughter out of school to go on a Walt Disney World vacation in 2015. His court case was sent back to magistrates where it first started two years ago in the fraught legal battle costing taxpayers $235,000. England’s Department for Education has footed the bill, which is enough to pay six teachers for a year.

Platt was today convicted of failing to secure his daughter’s regular attendance at school in a hearing at Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court. He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay $3,361 costs plus a $33 surcharge.

Platt said afterwards: “This is the end for me now, this has gone on for far too long and far too much money has been spent by me and the taxpayer. “I’ve spent close to £30,000 (AU $50,000), a Freedom of Information request found £140,000 (AU $235,000) has been spent by the taxpayer, but if you include the Supreme Court legal costs I think it isn’t far off a quarter of a million.

Platt’s  lawyers argued that his continued prosecution is unfair and unjust in the eyes of the law and appealed for it to be thrown out. Those defending Platt, said documents from the school were “completely vague” and it was not made clear that if he took her on an unauthorised holiday he would receive a fixed penalty notice and be prosecuted if he did not pay it.

Giving the judgement, magistrate Jeannie Walker said: “The circumstances of this case fall squarely into that breach of school rules.” Isle of Wight Council brought the challenge in a high-profile case involving businessman Platt, who took his seven-year-old daughter on a seven-day family trip to Disney World in Florida in April 2015. He says he did not choose the date to save money but had a problem because his other kids go to a different school with different holidays. The council prosecuted Platt after he refused to pay a $100 penalty.

But local magistrates found there was no case to answer and threw the case out, so the local authority appealed to the High Court in London. Two senior judges upheld the magistrates’ decision and declared that Mr Platt was not acting unlawfully because his daughter had a good overall attendance record of over 92 per cent. They said the magistrates were entitled to take into account the “wider picture” of the child’s attendance record outside of the dates she was absent on the holiday.

The decision caused a surge in term-time bookings all over England as councils were left unsure if they should apply strict rules introduced in a truancy crackdown in 2013. It means school heads can only give permission for absences in “exceptional circumstances” and parents who flout the rules face fines or even jail.

Have you taken your children out of school to go on a Disney vacation?

 

NEWS SOURCE: Independent

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