Following On 2013’s Legislative Efforts, Texas Lawmakers Aim To Decriminalize Student Truancy

Nov 17, 2014

A Republican state lawmaker is hoping to decriminalize Texas students’ learning experience. Rep. James White’s bill, will decriminalize truancy laws and require schools to find a way to incentivize attendance and student learning.

In 2013, school officials, nonprofits, and even the then-Chief Justice for the Texas Supreme Court, worked with state lawmakers to get a bill that banned school resource officers from issuing misdemeanor tickets to students “disrupting class,” signed into law.  

In 2015, Woodville Republican Rep. James White would like to decriminalize truancy laws that penalize students and their parents for missed school days.

“Look, what we need to do is, we need to incentivize and encourage students to get to school, and we need to do it in a less criminal way,” said White. :11 secs

White said, too often, these are children that come from one-parent homes, where their mother or father was holding down more than one job. He said the state needed to work on rehabilitating families.

Jennifer Carreon, with the nonprofit Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, said she couldn’t agree more.

“There are some students dealing with some real life issues that contribute to their absences; for instance: caring for their younger siblings, caring for a disabled guardian, not having a home.” :13 secs

Texas is one of two to three states that still currently lists truancy as a criminal offense.