Toolbox Tuesday!! HB 3917

What do you do when faced with a student’s chronic truancy? This being Toolbox Tuesday, the first thing I would mention is to think about the possibility that the absences may be connected to a disability. There have been a few court cases over the past year that have taken districts to task for the failure to consider that possibility. Often this occurs when a private provider has identified a physical or mental impairment and the school is aware of it, but has not suggested special education testing. That sequence of events can lead to a Child Find complaint.

With truancy, whether the student is in your special education program or not, the first step should always involve Truancy Prevention Measures. Stronger action should follow only when the TPMs are not effective. One of the stronger methods available to a school is to file charges against the parent for contributing to the student’s non-attendance.

HB 3917, which takes effect on September 1, authorizes schools and parents to enter an agreement whereby the parent would participate in “counseling, training, or another program as designated by the school district.” If the parent fulfills the requirements of the training, the court would be required to dismiss the complaint.

We will eventually get rules, materials, and forms from T.E.A. implementing this law. School officials would be wise to make sure that the judges you deal with on truancy cases are aware of this.


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Tomorrow: can my cousin be my parent?