TEXAS TRUANCY LAWS The laws regarding truancy can be found in Chapter 25 of the Education Code, and these laws emphasize the importance of your child attending school all day. Any absences must be excused by their school, and excessive unexcused absences could result in charges being brought against: • you as a parent for Parent Contributing to Nonattendance, if your child is required by law to attend school; and • your child for Failure to Attend School, if he or she is 12 years old or older, but not yet 18. If your child has unexcused absences for 10 or more days or parts of days in a 6-month period the school district MUST file the above charges on the student. In addition, the school district MAY file on your child if your child has unexcused absences for 3 or more days or parts of days in a 4 week period. You should receive a warning letter at the beginning of the school year stating you are subject to prosecution if your child fails to attend school for the periods stated above. If you receive the warning letter and your child fails to attend school as outlined above, charges can be filed. However, even if you do not receive this warning it is not a defense to prosecution, and you should call the school attendance clerk to ask about your child’s absences. When charges are brought, the school district is also required to file a statement with the court that it tried intervention measures to prevent the filing, but that those attempts failed. The statement should also indicate whether or not your child receives special education services.
WHO IS REQUIRED TO ATTEND SCHOOL? The law doesn’t require you to enroll your child in prekindergarten or kindergarten. If you do enroll your child, you and your child must follow state attendance laws. Generally, children who are 6 years old by September 1, must be enrolled in school and must attend until they turn 18. A child is exempt from attendance if the child: • Attends a private or parochial school; • Has a temporary, fixable physical or mental condition that makes attendance impracticable and has a doctor’s note specifying the condition, indicating the treatment, and stating the probable time period your child will be absent for the purpose of treatment; • Is at least 17 years old and • Is attending a course to prepare for the high school equivalency exam, and: • Has parent permission to attend; • Is required by court order to attend; • Has established residence apart from the parent or guardian; or • Is homeless; or • Has received a diploma or equivalency certificate; and • Meets any other exemption listed in Texas Education Code § 25.086.