Too Many Absences Could Mean $500 for Parents - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Too Many Absences Could Mean $500 for Parents

River Road Principal Andy Nies River Road Principal Andy Nies
Randall County Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Jerry Bigham Randall County Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Jerry Bigham
Parent Evelyn Pedraza Parent Evelyn Pedraza
Randall County Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Clay Houdeshell Randall County Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Clay Houdeshell

Too many school absences leaves your child behind in class and....you in court. We're talking about those unexcused absences....not having a doctor's note, not calling the school when your child stays home. Those are the kind that can land you in front of a judge.

It starts when the school notices your child has been absent too much. In Texas that means ten or more in six months or three or more in one month.

River Road Principal Andy Nies says "we sent out letters to let parents know it's getting excessive and we also talk to the student."

After that, you are in court telling the judge why your child has missed class. He can fine you up to 500 dollars or even order you to attend school with your child. Judges in both Potter and Randall counties say they see parents with children in kindergarten in court.

Randall County Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Jerry Bigham says "there's a mindset that it's not imperative to send young kids to school but it's essential all the way up to 12th grade."

But one parent we spoke with says once kids hit a certain age, all bets are off. Evelyn Pedraza says "when they get older, they do what they want."

Once 17, the student can be charged and convicted of excessive absences. Randall County Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace Clay Houdeshell says "you are to have no more absences or tardies."

Judge Houdeshell says since January, he has seen more than 250 cases in his precinct alone.

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