Truancy Laws

By Camaron Abundes
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- A new state law will arm school districts with the option of handing kids over to a judge if they have three or more unexcused absences in a month.

"In Texas Education is so important they have enacted laws to ensure attendance in school, so we are trying to tell parents and students, if you don't follow those laws you could find yourself in court," said James Henry, program director for alternative sentencing, Precinct 2 Justice Court.

When kids rack up ten or more unexcused absences, the district is required by law to turn them over to the courts.

"The student isn't the only one, if the school district thinks the parents are negligent or contributing to truancy, they can be charged," said Henry, who adds it can amount to fines as high as six hundred dollars for both the student and parent.

"I think the punishments are that serious, because I think it's important that we keep our kids in school, and they get their education, because it's the key to their success and their future," said Henry.

There will also be tougher age requirements and kids that ditch will face fines and possibly jail time.

"The law is going to change and it will also require 19 year olds to attend school, so therefore the old thing that kids thought that when they turned 18, they thought they could just drop out of school and walk away from it. It's not going to be that way anymore, they'll have to attend up into the age of 19," said Henry who added it will help reduce the drop out rate.