Kenedeno & Associates
Public Policy Advocates
Anton S Haley
Corpus Christi, TX 78411
March 18, 2007
Solomon P. Ortiz Jr.
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910
Dear State Rep Solomon Ortiz Jr.,
Thank you for your response to the issues with Section 25.093 of the Education Code. Truancy is indeed a serious concern for myself as a parent and for our community as a whole. If you remember it was a very heated issue during the Precinct chair election in which Kenedeno & Associates, in combination with your attributes and network that brought fairness and balance to the unleveled field. It was the written word that reached the precinct chairs. It was the written word that allowed them to become informed and make up their own minds. And it was the written word that provided the security and comfort zone to vote the way they felt was appropriate. The Miller issues revolved around this law and it was the Principal and his administrators who were blamed.
Unequivocally, when a parent places his child in the custody of a School Administration: The Parent requires the child to attend school if the child is present at beginning of the day!
TEXAS EDUCATION CODE Sec. 25.093 & 25.094 is derived from the TEXAS EDUCATION CODE Sec. 4.25. Thwarting Compulsory Attendance Law which stated,
(a) If any parent or person standing in parental relation to a child, within the compulsory school attendance ages and not lawfully exempt or properly excused from school attendance, fails to require such child to attend school for such periods as required by law, it shall be the duty of the proper attendance officer to warn, in writing, the parent or person standing in parental relation that attendance must be immediately required. If after this warning the parent or person standing in parental relation intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence fails to require the child to attend school as required by law, the parent or person standing in parental relation commits an offense. The attendance officer shall file a complaint against him in the county court, in the justice court of his resident precinct, or in the municipal court of the municipality in which he resides. An offense under this section is punishable by a fine of not less than $5 nor more than $25 for the first offense, not less than$10 nor more than $50 for the second offense, and not less than $25 nor more than $100 for a subsequent offense. Each day the child remains out of school after the warning has been given or the child ordered to school by the juvenile court may constitute a separate offense.
“If after this warning the parent or person standing in parental relation intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence fails to require the child to attend school as required by law, the parent or person standing in parental relation commits an offense”.
It appears in 1989, Section 4 of the Texas Education Code was amended (avoiding the public radar) into a idealistic “mission statement” rendering it a toothless but altruistic statement.
ch. 658 § 11, 1989 Tex Gen. Laws 2165, 2168, amending § 4.25, Education Code (Thwarting Compulsory Attendance Law)
The incorporation of the Compulsory Attendance Law and the Thwarting thereof into Section 25 “Admission, Transfer and Attendance” excluded the “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence” qualifier. Also, please take notice of the fine amounts clause “not less than $5 nor more than $25 for the first offense, not less than$10 nor more than $50 for the second offense, and not less than $25 nor more than $100 for a subsequent offense”.
An absent student is one who never arrives at school in the morning and is absent for the WHOLE Day. The student was never on campus. The Parent is responsible for the student getting to school (requiring the student to attend school). If the student does not get to school it is the Parent’s responsibility not necessarily the Parent’s fault. There are circumstances where the student will walk in the front door and out the back door without attending a single class. This is where the attendance officers need to improve their due diligence like the old days.
Once the student is counted present in the morning; the Parent has required the student (child) to attend school.
Once the student is verified in attendance at the beginning of the school day the student is in the custody of the School.
Is the Parent, by taking the child to school (and the child is accounted for as in attendance), “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence failing to require the child to attend school”?
When the student is tardy or skips class (on campus or off campus) it is happening on the watch of the school. The Parent should cooperate and communicate with the School Counselors Administrators and the Attendance Officers to correct the behavior.
The Security and Attendance officers should take notice and tighten the belt. This is a security issue as well; there is no excuse for students coming and going outside of the lunch period and it is imperative that attendance irregularities be dealt with within 24 hours. This is easily done with our modern technology. Instead, what we are seeing is the Attendance Officers documenting the absences as they accumulate and filing on the Parent and student when the number of absences are achieved. (Like to meet a quota.)
Below are a few excerpts out of the legislation from the 74th Legislature authored by Bill Ratliff
“7-23 (2) the unexcused voluntary absence of a child on 10
7-24 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period or three or
7-25 more days or parts of days within a four-week period from school
7-26 without the consent of his parents”;
That is called a permission slip where I went to school. The HD #33 State Rep and the South Texas Delegation need to do what is best for South Texas. Make a law like the
“5-11 (15) "Status offender" means a child who is accused,
5-12 adjudicated, or convicted for conduct that would not, under state
5-13 law, be a crime if committed by an adult, including:
5-14 (A) truancy under Section”51.03(b)(2);”
“50-6 (d) 3) the person <
child> and the person's < child's>
50-7 parents, managing conservator, or guardian attend a class for
50-8 students at risk of dropping out of school designed for both the
50-9 person <
child> and the person's < child's> parents, managing
50-10 conservator, or guardian;”
“(e) An order under Subsection (d)(3) that requires the
50-22 parent, managing conservator, or guardian of a person to attend a
50-23 class for students at risk of dropping out of school <
(d) of this
section> is enforceable in the justice court by contempt.”
“ 52-19 (2) the child's parents, managing conservator, or
52-20 guardian attend a parenting class or parental responsibility
52-21 program if the court finds the parent, managing conservator, or
52-22 guardian, by wilful act or omission, contributed to, caused, or
52-23 encouraged the child's conduct; or
52-24 (3) the child and the child's parents, managing
52-25 conservator, or guardian attend the child's school classes or
52-26 functions if the court finds the parent, managing conservator, or
52-27 guardian, by wilful act or omission, contributed to, caused, or
53-1 encouraged the child's conduct.”
“60-12 (g) On a finding by the court that a child's parents or
60-13 guardians have made a reasonable good faith effort to prevent the
60-14 child from engaging in delinquent conduct or engaging in conduct
60-15 indicating a need for supervision and that, despite the parents' or
60-16 guardians' efforts, the child continues to engage in such conduct,
60-17 the court shall waive any requirement for restitution that may be
60-18 imposed on a parent under this section.”
a reasonable good faith effort
144-3 (2) the unexcused voluntary absence of the child on 10
144-4 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period or three or
144-5 more days or parts of days within a four-week period from school
144-6 without the consent of the child's parent, managing conservator, or
145-17 (b) A parent, managing conservator, guardian, or other
145-18 member of the child's household who violates a court order under
145-19 Section 264.305 by failing to participate in services provided by
145-20 the department is subject to contempt of court. The court may
145-21 under its contempt powers impose a community service requirement.”
Furthermore, 74R SB 1 was authored by Senator Ratliff; while the Sponsor was Sadler. In this legislation, the term Recalcitrant Person cogently replaced the “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence failing to require the child to attend school” Parent.
“464-14 (7) <
, or> to file a complaint against any
464-15 recalcitrant person having parental control as provided in Section
464-16 25.090; and
464-17 (8) <
4.25 of this code, or> to file a complaint
464-18 against a student <
pupil> for a violation of Section 25.091”
In response to your statement, “You say that you are doing everything you can to require your child to attend school and feel that you are being prosecuted unjustly”.
This is not about me Solly, I have the ability to defend myself and I will do so eloquently in a very public manner. I am presenting you with an unjust law, a law that injures many of your constituents and many of your esteemed colleague’s constituents as well. I am also providing you an insight as one who has attended public school and graduated from public school right here in Corpus Christi (CCISD).
However, the 74th Legislature decided that the best way to compel a child's attendance was to put pressure on the parent. While I understand the difficult and frustrating situation you are in, 1 also respect the 74th Legislature's policy decision and will not be filing any legislation regarding this issue at this time.
It is not the best way but the most expedient. As defined by your own words Solly, “(You) respect the 74th Legislature's policy decision”, it is requested that the cogent qualifier “Recalcitrant Person” be put back into the law.
As far as the JP Courts are concerned, an Attorney was consulted; the District Attorney; he has issued a directive to the JP’s consistent with the law. JP’s are not legally trained and have not the power to confine. Awaiting your response I remain.
Anton S Haley