LONDON (AP) – A trip to Disney World has sparked a battle in Britain’s highest court.
In a case with implications for millions of parents, the U.K. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a father broke the law by taking his daughter on vacation to Florida during school time.
Jon Platt was fined 120 pounds ($150) after taking his 6-year-old daughter out of school for a week in 2015, and prosecuted when he failed to pay.
Lower courts found he had not acted unlawfully because his daughter had a good overall attendance record. Those rulings led to a surge in British parents taking children on vacation during school terms, when airplane fares and hotel prices are significantly cheaper. But local officials, backed by the British government, took the case to the country’s top court. Five justices ruled unanimously Thursday that U.K. schools had the right to set rules about what constitutes “regular” attendance. Judge Brenda Hale said unauthorized absences were “a slap in the face to those obedient parents who do keep the rules.”
Platt said the ruling means millions of parents in Britain no longer have the power to make decisions about their own children.
He said he has no plans to plead guilty or pay the fine.