Mum set to face caning in court

Tracey Baxter with her daughter, Devon, who has been unable to go to school through illness
Tracey Baxter with her daughter, Devon, who has been unable to go to school through illness
Have your say

A Spalding mum who says she has had to watch her teenage daughter bent double with pain says she is ready to go to court over the girl’s absences from school.

Tracey Baxter faces a fine when she appears at Boston Magistrates’ Court on Monday because she says her daughter, Devon, has missed nearly all of Year 10.

Devon (16) has psoriatic arthritis – a disease where joints around the body become inflamed and sore.

In addition, Tracey says doctors have found a problem with her liver that affects her immune system and catching a winter bug can mean she is out of action for two weeks.

The diagnosis has only come in the last year, and Mrs Baxter – a mum of four and step mum to two, who lives in Chestnut Avenue – says she is at her wits’ end.

She said: “They can fine me, but I am a mum first and when my daughter is suffering she needs looking after.

“It’s an important year at school and it breaks my heart seeing her cry because she can’t go.”

Mrs Baxter said Devon came home from school last week and was unable to get her boots off.

She said: “Her feet had swollen like plates of meat.

“It’s ruining her life – she rarely goes out because if she does go to school her feet are too painful afterwards.”

Devon has a place at the Post-16 Centre and hopes with the help of the medication she is now on to one day get a job in childcare.

Mrs Baxter said: “She gets depressed when she doesn’t go to school, but she’s my baby. If I could put her in a bubble to protect her I would.

“Receiving a court summons has been a huge shock – I’ve spoken to the school but I don’t know where to turn now.

“It makes me so angry when there are parents out there who just won’t send their children to school. They can have me fined, but I’ll put my daughter first every time.”

John O’Connor, head of school administration, said: “We can’t comment on individual cases but can say that seeking action through the courts is a last resort.

“With cases such as these, medical advice is taken to confirm that non-attendance is due to a medical reason. If this is the case then clearly, no legal action is necessary.

“Legal proceedings are only taken when it can be demonstrated that there is no good reason for non-attendance and parents are failing in their duty to ensure their children attend school regularly.”