Truancy is on it’s way to no longer being a criminal offense in Texas and it is about time!
The insane truancy law was put into effect in 1995 and has plagued the system with 100’s of thousands of truancy cases sent to adult criminal courts.
It resulted in jail time for parents as well as students. Rude letters were sent home from schools warning good families of dire circumstances because the family decided their child out of school for some reason.
The criminalized truancy issue became heated in 2012 when Texas Judge Lanny Moriart threw an honor student in jail because she missed too many high school classes while working two jobs to help support her siblings.
The judge saw the light after public outrage went national. Not only did the girl have to spend the night with a bunch of criminals, she inherited a police record to follow her the rest of her life and had to pay a $100 fine.
The problem with the truancy law was felt all over Texas.
One parent received an authoritarian letter from a Mesquite, TX school after her daughter had been taken out of school for eye appointments.
The letter threatened criminal prosecution twice. The tone of the letter itself is way beyond the common description of acceptable from an employee of the tax payer.
As reported by Merrill Hope at Breitbart Texas, “In 2013, Texas Appleseed cited over 115,000 truancy cases sent to adult criminal courts. Only about 1,000 truancy cases were handled in Texas juvenile courts that year. Fewer than 50,000 truancy cases were filed in the juvenile courts of all other states combined.”
Texas has been prosecuting children and their parents for the FTAS at “more than double the rate of all 49 other states combined.”
The insanity continues: “One of the students included in Fort Bend’s total, 17-year-old Serena Vela, owed $2,700 in truancy-related fines, but couldn’t afford to pay them in 2013. The Hightower High School sophomore lived in a trailer with an unemployed mother who suffered from dementia.”
It is a part of the school-to-prison pipeline. Merrill writes, “The school-to-prison pipeline refers to those zero tolerance school policies that lead to students being put into contact with the criminal justice system while still minors. It creates a damaging paper trail that, if not sealed and expunged, can wreak havoc on a youth’s future college and career prospects”
In recent years, the number of incidents of schools involving the authorities into the home has been on the rise.
A VA mother is suing the school board after her son was arrested for wearing an NRA shirt.
A mother in California was reported by a school to CPS for not taking her child to the dentist in a timely manner.
A four-year-old preschooler at Nathanael Greene Primary School was handcuffed, put in leg shackles and taken by a sheriff in a squad car to the police station in Virginia for becoming agitated and throwing several items onto the floor.
To see the severity of the ineptness of having to call the authorities for situations that for decades were handled by even newest of principals in-house, there is a very handy illustration.
A first year teacher walks in weak, no experience. Most, in the first year, tend to send a lot of discipline problems up to the higher authority, the principal.
The principal, having more authority, handles a lot of problems that seasoned teachers handle themselves in the classroom.
As the teacher grows and learns, less and less do they rely on the principal. Soon, it is rare that they need that resource.
The fact that the police are being called to handle items that could have been so easily handled ‘in-house’, shows the incredible ineptness that is involved.
When schools cannot handle most truancy, as has been done for decades, in-house, then it is time to find educators that can!