Top UK court fines father who took daughter to Disney World in school time

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Britain’s Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against a father who took his daughter on an unauthorized holiday during term-time, saying parents needed to act within school regulations.

Jon Platt acted unlawfully when he took his daughter on a trip to Disney World in the United States in April 2015 against the wishes of her school, the court said. The case will have implications for any parent who wishes to take a child out of an English school without permission.

“Unauthorized absences have a disruptive effect, not only on the individual child but also on the work of other pupils,” said Brenda Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court.

“If one pupil can be taken out whenever it suits the parent, so can others.”

Platt had refused to pay a 120 pound ($150) fine from the local authority for taking his daughter, who was nearly aged seven at the time, on holiday against the wishes of her school on the Isle of Wight just off the English south coast.

He argued that she had been to school on more than 90 percent of days over the course of the year and so had attended regularly. That view was backed by lower courts, but the Supreme Court decided that attending “regularly” meant “in accordance with the rules prescribed by the school”.

Platt said the “shocking” consequences of the ruling meant every unauthorized absence would now be a criminal offence.

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