Steve Weatherbe lifesitenews.com Irish mother of six Monica O’Connor, 47, spent three hours in jail Wednesday as punishment for home-schooling her two youngest children in violation of new Irish regulations. The controversial case isn’t over by a long shot, however. The child protection agency TUSLA could go after her again next year, and her husband Edward O’Neill, 49, must still serve time for the same offence. “We don’t intend to take it to a higher court. We think that’s what they want,” O’Connor told LifeSiteNews. But neither will the couple back down. “We clearly have the right to home school under the Constitution,” she added. But unlike Canada and the United States, Irish law does not allow a constitutional defence in the lower courts. O’Connor, a home birth facilitator, and O’Neill, a teacher, home-schooled four older children to adulthood, and all have done fine since: the youngest has just been admitted to university to study classical music. What’s changed, Jane Donegan of the Irish Home Education Network told LifeSiteNews, is that Ireland has a relatively new law governing home-schoolers, and a very new agency, called TUSLA, to enforce it. Home-schooling parents are now treated as if their children are truants until they apply for permission to home-school and get assessed for their suitability. Before passage of the Education (Welfare) Act in 2000, home-schoolers were required to notify the local police, explaining why their children were not in school. But under the act, they now must apply to TUSL for an assessment by staff of each child. If they pass, they can register. If they do not follow the process, they must register with their local school, and their children must attend there. to read more: lifesitenews.com
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