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Truancy: Court Intervention

When a student accumulates three unexcused absences in a four week period, the law allows the district to file a truancy case at any time (at the district’s discretion); after 10 unexcused absences within a six-month period the district MUST file a case. It is a priority for the district and the state that all students attend all classes, all day, every day.

There are two types of truancy cases:
  • After the warning notice, the district may file Parent Contributing to Non-attendance (parent/guardian) cases on parents/guardians with students under the age of 12 that accumulate the required number of unexcused days or parts of days. 
     
  • The district files Failure to Attend School (child/student) cases on qualifying students 12 to 17 years of age. If a school administrator determines that a parent contributed to the child’s truant behavior, the district also may file a case on the parent of a student age 17 years or younger.

Remember days of non-enrollment count as unexcused absences and may result in truancy charges being filed.

If you are summoned to court for a Parent Contributing to Non-attendance case (when the student accumulating the absences is in elementary school), the court only requires the parent to attend court and expects the student to attend school that day.

When the district files a Failure to Attend School case, the court requires both, the parent and the child to appear before the judge to explain unexcused absences. A Dallas ISD Attendance Officer will be in court to assist the families in the court process. Students age 17 or older may appear in court without a parent, but Dallas ISD encourages parent participation whenever possible.

The court order may include counseling, community service, tutoring, curfew requirements, GED, court cost, fines or other sanctions. It will always be required that the student attends school each and every day without further unexcused absences or tardies for 180 days or until the end of the school year.

Ignoring a mailed summons only increases court costs and may result in a warrant being issued. The court places students under the age of 17 under a direct order allowing the judge to monitor their attendance throughout the school year. The court pays close attention to student discipline infractions, and students with poor grades are typically required to complete tutoring.

Warrants and unresolved court cases do not go away at the end of the school year even if the student graduates.
 
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