More Texas students being prosecuted for truancy - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

More Texas students being prosecuted for truancy

Posted: Updated:

Texas - Hundreds of thousands of students across Texas are being prosecuted for truancy.

The purpose of the so-called truancy courts in Texas is to keep kids in class, but advocates say it's unfair to criminalize truancy.

That's why three advocacy groups recently filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department.

Texas law requires schools to report students when they have 10 or more unexcused absences within a six month period.

Students ticketed for truancy face a class C misdemeanor charge.

In court, they may be ordered to comply with programs to improve their attendance as a condition of their case being dismissed.

If students don't pay fines, they face trial, more court fees and even jail time.

Advocates say the truancy policy is unfairly penalizing students who have disabilities, don't speak English well, or are pregnant.

In response, school officials argue that the truancy program has been successful at reducing dropouts and that administrators work hard to accommodate students with special needs.

Last year Texas prosecuted more than double the number of truancy cases in all other states combined, at 113,000.

The state collected around $2.9 million in fines.

That sum covers about half of the courts operating costs.

Advocacy groups say the courts are too dependent on the judges' fines.

  • Local HeadlinesMore>>

  • West Odessans Happy with Cement Plant Pulling Air Quality Permit

    West Odessans Happy with Cement Plant Pulling Air Quality Permit

    The corner of 42nd and Moss in West Odessa is still vacant today and even the permit for building the cement plant has been removed "I'm very Pleased with the decision. It will benefit all of the residents," Concerned resident, Mary Lewis said.
    The corner of 42nd and Moss in West Odessa is still vacant today and even the permit for building the cement plant has been removed "I'm very Pleased with the decision. It will benefit all of the residents," Concerned resident, Mary Lewis said.
  • Litter Problem in the Basin Continues to Grow

    Litter Problem in the Basin Continues to Grow

    The litter issue in the Permian Basin is a growing problem. Just driving through each city, you can see how much of a dilemma we've gotten ourselves into.Mayor Jerry Morales says, "It's very sad. And, It's disappointing."Celia Page, with the chairman of the Great American Cleanup and Don't Mess with Texas Trashoff, states, "To me it's an embarrassment. 
    The litter issue in the Permian Basin is a growing problem. Just driving through each city, you can see how much of a dilemma we've gotten ourselves into.Mayor Jerry Morales says, "It's very sad. And, It's disappointing."Celia Page, with the chairman of the Great American Cleanup and Don't Mess with Texas Trashoff, states, "To me it's an embarrassment. 
  • Odessa Woman Rushed to Hospital After Attack in Alley

    Odessa Woman Rushed to Hospital After Attack in Alley

    An Odessa woman was brutally attacked in an alley early Thursday morning. She was beaten so badly, she ended up in the hospital. Police said the woman's screams may have saved her but that attacker is on the run.
    An Odessa woman was brutally attacked in an alley early Thursday morning. She was beaten so badly, she ended up in the hospital. Police said the woman's screams may have saved her but that attacker is on the run.