Texas - Family Engagement on Chronic Absenteeism: Program requirements

Area: 
Program Requirement
Policy Type: 
Statute
Summary: 

State law involves parents in responding to truancy or chronic absenteeism using non-punitive or supportive interventions.

Texas Statutes 25.0915 Truancy Prevention Measures

(a)  A school district shall adopt truancy prevention measures designed to:

  • (1)  address student conduct related to truancy in the school setting before the student engages in conduct described by Section 65.003(a), Family Code; and

  • (2)  minimize the need for referrals to truancy court for conduct described by Section 65.003(a), Family Code
    .

(a-1) As a truancy prevention measure under Subsection (a), a school district shall take one or more of the following actions:

  • (1)  impose:

    • (A)  a behavior improvement plan on the student that must be signed by an employee of the school, that the school district has made a good faith effort to have signed by the student and the student’s parent or guardian, and that includes:

      • (i)  a specific description of the behavior that is required or prohibited for the student;

      • (ii)  the period for which the plan will be effective, not to exceed 45 school days after the date the contract becomes effective; or

      • (iii)  the penalties for additional absences, including additional disciplinary action or the referral of the student to a truancy court; or

    • (B)  school-based community service; or

  • (2)  refer the student to counseling, mediation, mentoring, a teen court program, community-based services, or other in-school or out-of-school services aimed at addressing the student’s truancy.

(a-2) A referral made under Subsection (a-1)(2) may include participation by the child’s parent or guardian if necessary.

(a-3) A school district shall offer additional counseling to a student and may not refer the student to truancy court if the school determines that the student’s truancy is the result of:

  • (1)  pregnancy;

  • (2)  being in the state foster program;

  • (3)  homelessness; or

  • (4)  being the principal income earner for the student’s family.

(a-4) If a student fails to attend school without excuse on three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period but does not fail to attend school for the time described by Section 25.0951(a), the school district shall initiate truancy prevention measures under this section on the student.

(b)  Each referral to truancy court for conduct described by Section 65.003(a), Family Code, must:

  • (1)  be accompanied by a statement from the student’s school certifying that:

    • (A)  the school applied the truancy prevention measures adopted under Subsection (a) or (a-4) to the student; and

    • (B)  the truancy prevention measures failed to meaningfully address the student’s school attendance; and

  • (2)  specify whether the student is eligible for or receives special education services under Subchapter A, Chapter 29.

(c)  A truancy court shall dismiss a petition filed by a truant conduct prosecutor under Section 65.054, Family Code, if the court determines that the school district’s referral:

  • (1)  does not comply with Subsection (b);

  • (2)  does not satisfy the elements required for truant conduct;

  • (3)  is not timely filed, unless the school district delayed the referral under Section 25.0951(d); or

  • (4) is otherwise substantively defective.

(d) Except as provided by Subsection (e), a school district shall employ a truancy prevention facilitator or juvenile case manager to implement the truancy prevention measures required by this section and any other effective truancy prevention measures as determined by the school district or campus. At least annually, the truancy prevention facilitator shall meet to discuss effective truancy prevention measures with a case manager or other individual designated by a truancy court to provide services to students of the school district in truancy cases.

(e) Instead of employing a truancy prevention facilitator, a school district may designate an existing district employee or juvenile case manager to implement the truancy prevention measures required by this section and any other effective truancy prevention measures as determined by the school district or campus.

(f) The agency shall adopt rules:

  • (1) creating minimum standards for truancy prevention measures adopted by a school district under this section; and
  • (2) establishing a set of best practices for truancy prevention measures.

(g) The agency shall adopt rules to provide for sanctions for a school district found to be not in compliance with this section.


Texas Statutes Education Code 25.095 Warning Notices

(a)  A school district or open-enrollment charter school shall notify a student’s parent in writing at the beginning of the school year that if the student is absent from school on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year:

  • (1)  the student’s parent is subject to prosecution under Section 25.093; and

  • (2)  the student is subject to referral to a truancy court for truant conduct under Section 65.003(a), Family Code.

(b)  A school district shall notify a student’s parent if the student has been absent from school, without excuse under Section 25.087, on three days or parts of days within a four-week period. The notice must:

  • (1)  inform the parent that:

    • (A)  it is the parent’s duty to monitor the student’s school attendance and require the student to attend school; and

    • (B)  the student is subject to truancy prevention measures under Section 25.0915; and

  • (2)  request a conference between school officials and the parent to discuss the absences.

(c)  The fact that a parent did not receive a notice under Subsection (a) or (b) does not create a defense under Section 25.093 or under Section 65.003(a), Family Code.

(d)  In this section, “parent” includes a person standing in parental relation.

Policy Links: