School holidays: what are the risks for parents who bring their children back before school ends?

As a reminder, in France school is compulsory from 3 to 16 years old. (©Illustration Fabien Hisbacq – News Occitanie)

For zones A, B and C, the School holiday summer starts on a Thursday evening this year, Thursday 7 July 2022. And in some municipalities the leisure centers are closed on Friday 8. Parents of students grumble as rentals are generally taken from Saturday to Saturday.

In some families, the desire to going on vacation before school ends, after this long period of health crisis, is displayed. But if parents think about it, jumping can be expensive. “School is not à la carte”, the teachers repeat!

Fines have already fallen

A Vendée notary has already experimented. In May 2018, he was sentenced by the magistrate of Sables-d’Olonne to pay… two fines of 135 euros for “unjustified violation of schooling by the child’s responsible person despite an administrative warning. »

He had contacted the principal of the Catholic school where his daughter was enrolled to announce that her child, who was then in much of kindergarten, would be out of school for a week due to a staggered vacation. A request rejected by the management of the establishment. The father had decided to ignore it.

The same situation arose the following year, when the girl was in CP class, with the same result, it said at the time. The new republic. Something to think about before letting your kids miss classes.

Any “not going to school” must absolutely be motivated

Like a memory, school is compulsory from 3 to 16 years in France. And the only accepted reasons for absence are the following: illness of the child (or of one of his relatives if he may be contagious), solemn family reunification (marriage, funeral, etc.), impediment caused by an accident during transport or situation where the child follows his legal representatives (travel outside school holidays).

Whatever the reason for the absence, any “not going to school” must be absolutely justified, specify articles L131-8 and R131-7 of the Education Code. the panel of sanctions against the parents or the child’s legal representative generally evolves according to the frequency of the pupil’s violations.

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The first case, and the most common, is to warn with a warning. Then comes the fine. It is then Article R624-7 of the Criminal Code that then applies to this principle: “Do not impose an obligation on the child to attend school without stating a legitimate reason or a valid excuse or for inaccurate reasons for absence from will be punished with a fine for 4th class violations. »

A class 4 fine? It is 135 euros (and increased to 375 euros).

Sanctions to imprisonment

And it can go even further. “If these unwarranted absences endanger your child’s education,” the public service site states, the fine can be up to 30,000 eurosand the person responsible for the student risks to two years in prison.

What Article R624-7 of the Criminal Code says

“The fact that for one or the other parent of a child of compulsory school age or for any person who continuously exercises parental or de facto authority over him, after warning from the Director of Education of the national education services acting in delegation from the Rector of the academy and the implementation of the procedures specified in Article R. 131-7 of the Education Code, not to impose the obligation on the child to attend school without a valid reason or a valid excuse or giving incorrect reasons for absence punished by the fine provided for class 4 fines The fact that aid or assistance facilitates the commission of the offense referred to in this article shall be punished with the same penalties.”

So on paper, the sanctions are there, but in the (very) large majority of cases stock exchange between the pedagogical team and the parents makes it possible to avoid them in reality.

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Jean-Michel Blanquer, then Minister of National Education, was (very) clear: “School is not an adjustment variable. »

For example, if we introduced compulsory education at the age of three, it was to send a message that we were going to kindergarten every day, at all scheduled times. Because school is serious if you allow me the expression.

Jean-Michel BlanquerMinister of National Education

“School is good for kids,” he concluded.

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