Teenage round-the-world sailor Laura Dekker quits school

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Education authorities have criticised Laura Dekker, the 16-year-old girl who is attempting to sail round the world single-handed, for dropping out of school.

Laura, whose birthday is today, had originally planned to keep up with her studies during her solo voyage, but told the NOS children’s news show she was too busy to combine the two.

She said: “In the beginning I did a lot of schoolwork, but now I don’t do a lot because I don’t have enough time. The boat is more important, so I’m focusing on that.”

The teenager, who is currently in the Australian city of Darwin, cannot be compelled to attend school while she is away from the Netherlands.

Her ambitions have been the focus of a series of high-profile court cases that began when she was just 13 and announced her wish to become the youngest person to sail around the world unassisted.

Initially she was prevented from travelling by a court order, but last summer a judge lifted the restriction and gave her parents responsibility for her education. That means the child protection agency (Kinderbescherming) is unable to intervene even if she fails to attend school.

The Dutch International School (Wereldschool) said Laura’s decision was “not sensible” and she had thrown in the towel.

The main teachers’ union, Ingrado, said the decision was wrong and inappropriate, but it was unable to intervene unless requested to by the child protection agency.

Source: NOS: Zeilmeisje Laura stopt met school
Photo by Krispijn Beek

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