Students in the San Antonio and Judson Independent School Districts are on notice that warrants could be issued if they have been skipping school. Parents and kids have just two weeks to clear up any truancy issues before pick-up orders are activated.
Judge Rogelio Lopez of the Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace court said he sees hundreds of students from Judson and SAISD each year, and students missing school has a dramatic effect on the drop-out rate.
"When I see the same child over and over and over again in court, that's a pretty good indicator that there's something that's not working," Lopez said.
"The class of 2012 was 50 percent less than 2007, so it's down to 12.5 percent," said SAISD Spokeswoman Leslie Price, who also said the district has several layers of truancy prevention in place to keep the situation from getting to the court level.
Right now, parents and kids who have received truancy notices have until Nov. 12 to call the JP4 court and set a court date, or the kids will be picked up and brought to the court by a constable or district police officer.
"They need to explain to the court why there are so many absences because it is a criminal offense," said Lopez. "There are a certain number of requirements that need to be met before the student can be charged. If it's a valid reason, then the case can be dismissed."
Lopez said although many are hardship cases where kids are working to help the family or don’t have transportation, the larger number of cases involve kids who don’t want to go to school and their parents may be unaware of the problem.