New truancy laws may mean more work for parents and teachers - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

New truancy laws may mean more work for parents and teachers

Amarillo, TX - The goal of a new Texas law may mean less juveniles incarcerated for truancy.

If a student is absent for ten or more full or partial days within a six month period, they are considered truant. And a new law may change their consequences.

It's that time of the year again...Thousands of students are making their way back to school. Well...most of them, anyway.

But under a new law, those who aren't may have less harsh consequences. Schools will no longer be able to send students with three unexcused absences to truancy courts.

Amarillo Independent School District attendance investigator says they see most truancy cases with high schoolers.

"On the high school level, students...that's where they're coming into themselves I guess you can say. And they just...parents will drop them off and they choose to walk out the back door instead of being on campus and it is a little more or when they turn 18, they decide they don't want to be in school," says Laurie Grady.

The new law may mean more work for parents and teachers, however. School officers will now have to notify parents of any absences and warn them of consequences. Among them...a fine or loss of driving privileges and even a criminal complaint toward parents.

"The only thing that it's going to affect is the courts and the schools... it's just going to make it more difficult for us to enforce the orders that were given to the kids."

Grady tells us while she prefers their previous method, the district has set up a committee to revamp truancy measures along with the new law. The law was primarily pushed for in an effort to cut down on juveniles being detained.

Grady says...she hopes it will do just that.

"Our main objective is for kids to be in school, and if they're in jail, they're not in school because they lock them up for three days and that's not what we want. We want them in the classroom," says Grady.

 The new law begins implementation on September 1st. Now Wyoming is the only state that makes truancy a criminal violation.

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