Truancy in Texas

Alyssa Harmon, Reporter

Alyssa Harmon

Texas has new truancy laws that took affect on Sept. 1 for every school within the state of Texas, which were to decriminalize the laws previous.

Before students, if filed for truancy, had to have three unexcused absences within a four week period, at which point the school must inform the student’s parents of their absences, implement truancy prevention measures, warn the parents of these measures and “is required to sit down with [the student] and a parent, unless both refuse, unless both just don’t show up, to a meeting called a behavior intervention plan meeting.”

If the student has had ten unexcused absences in a six month period, the school will evaluate whether the absences were a result of a pregnancy, homelessness, foster care or they are the primary earner of the family. School will not refer the student if their absences were related to any of those reasons and will offer counseling and support. Otherwise, the school may file a criminal complaint against the parents in court, but they must prove the absences were unexcused and a result of parental negligence.

The school will then determine whether or not its truancy prevention plan is working, if it’s working, then the court referral won’t be made. If it’s not working, the student can be referred to a truancy court, where the student can be fined $100, have their driving privileges revoked, or be referred to the juvenile court system.