Mounting to 'emotional abuse': Girl, 12, forced to attend two schools due to bitter parent's split

Krystal Johnson

A 12-year-old girl caught in the middle of a bitter dispute between her parents, was reportedly forced to attend two different schools, mounting to "emotional abuse".

Josie is set to have two sets of uniforms, two sets of school books, teachers and friends, according to The Age.

The Education Department originally ruled that her parents were entitled to two enrolments after separating.

Josie, 12, was set to have two sets of uniforms, two sets of school books and friends. Photo: Getty
The Education Department now say they will take Josie's best interest ensuring she would only attend the school of her choice. Photo: Getty

This meant Josie would spend one day every two weeks at a co-ed school near her father's house, and the remainder of her time at a girls' school of her choice, which is near her mother's house.

The young Victorian girl's mother, Amelia, said the department didn't put Josie's best interests at heart.

"I think it is incredibly ludicrous and against the rights of the child," she told The Age.

Education Minister, James Merlino, has since intervened in the case and said that the case was not in Josie's best interest and she should be able to choose the school she would like to attend.

"I have asked my department to secure the best outcome for Josie, and any other student who is caught in a similar situation in the future," he stated.

Josie's mother didn't qualify for legal aid and she could not afford to go to court to settle the matter, saying how stressful the situation was for the family.

"My daughter has a very clear vision of the high school she wants to attend and I have supported that," Amelia said.

It was reported that the father refused to sign the papers and wanted her to enrol at a state school near him instead.

Education Department policy states that both separated parents must sign the enrolment form at the neighbourhood government school, unless a court order says otherwise.

Disputes about school enrolments are becoming increasingly common and should be handled with the child's best interest at heart.