• Truancy

    Katy ISD is fully committed to supporting students throughout each educational level. Regular attendance is the first step to ensuring children are afforded all opportunities leading to graduation. The Truancy Department is charged with identifying and addressing barriers that may be preventing students and their families from attending school daily and connect them with the appropriate resources available in the Katy community.

    Compulsory Attendance Law

    Under §25.085,[3] compulsory attendance applies to students who are at least six years old as of September 1 of the applicable school year. The law requires a student to attend public school until the student’s 19th birthday, unless the student is exempt under §25.086.  

    Under §25.085(c), compulsory attendance also applies to students below the age for compulsory attendance during any period that the student is voluntarily enrolled in prekindergarten or kindergarten. 

    In addition, under §25.085(d), compulsory attendance applies to certain extended-year programs, tutorial classes, accelerated reading instruction programs, accelerated instruction programs, basic skills programs, and summer programs for students subject to certain disciplinary removals.

    Compulsory attendance is enforced through §25.093 and Chapter 65, Texas Family Code.[4] 

    Judicial Enforcement

    The judicial process for truant conduct is governed by Chapter 65, Texas Family Code. Under §65.003, Texas Family Code, truant conduct is conduct committed by a student who is 12 years of age or older and younger than 19 years of age.[19] A district may refer a student alleged to have engaged in truant conduct to a court designated as a truancy court under §65.004, Texas Family Code. A truancy court is required to dismiss a petition filed by a truant conduct prosecutor if the court determines that the district’s referral does not meet certain conditions, including an accompanying statement regarding the district’s application of truancy prevention measures and a statement regarding whether the student is eligible for special education services.[20]

    Under §25.0951(a), a referral for 10 or more unexcused absences within six months must be made within 10 school days from the date of the student’s 10th absence. If a referral on which a petition for truant conduct is based is untimely, the court shall dismiss the petition unless the district has delayed the referral because the district determines that truancy prevention measures are succeeding and the delay is in the student’s best interest.[21]

    Section 25.093 is an offense for contributing to nonattendance, which is committed by a parent.[22] A district may file an action under that section in any justice precinct in the county in which the school is located or in which the person filed against resides.[23] Alternatively, an action may be filed in municipal court or, in a county with a population of 1.75 million or more, in a constitutional county court. Section 25.093 provides for the deposit of one-half of a fine collected under that section to the credit of the open-enrollment charter, JJAEP, or school district that the child attends.

    It is an affirmative defense for both the parent and the student that an absence has been excused by a school official or the court.[24] For the student, there is also an affirmative defense for absences that are involuntary.[25] The affirmative defenses apply only if there are an insufficient number of absences remaining to constitute the offense or the truant conduct.

    Parent Contributing to Nonattendance

    Sec. 25.093. (a) If a warning is issued as required by Section 25.095(a), the parent with criminal negligence fails to require the child to attend school as required by law, and the child has absences for the amount of time specified under Section 65.003(a), Family Code, the parent commits an offense.

    (b) The attendance officer or other appropriate school official shall file a complaint against the parent in:

    (1) the constitutional county court of the county in which the parent resides or in which the school is located, if the county has a population of 1.75 million or more;

    (2) a justice court of any precinct in the county in which the parent resides or in which the school is located; or

    (3) a municipal court of the municipality in which the parent resides or in which the school is located.

    (c) An offense under Subsection (a) is a misdemeanor, punishable by fine only, in an amount not to exceed:

    (1) $100 for a first offense;

    (2) $200 for a second offense;

    (3) $300 for a third offense;

    (4) $400 for a fourth offense; or

    (5) $500 for a fifth or subsequent offense.

    (c-1) Each day the child remains out of school may constitute a separate offense. Two or more offenses under Subsection (a) may be consolidated and prosecuted in a single action. If the court orders deferred disposition under Article 45.051, Code of Criminal Procedure, the court may require the defendant to provide personal services to a charitable or educational institution as a condition of the deferral.

    (d) A fine collected under this section shall be deposited as follows:

    (1) one-half shall be deposited to the credit of the operating fund of, as applicable:

    (A) the school district in which the child attends school;

    (B) the open-enrollment charter school the child attends; or

    (C) the juvenile justice alternative education program that the child has been ordered to attend; and

    (2) one-half shall be deposited to the credit of:

    (A) the general fund of the county, if the complaint is filed in the justice court or the constitutional county court; or

    (B) the general fund of the municipality, if the complaint is filed in municipal court.

    (e) At the trial of any person charged with violating this section, the attendance records of the child may be presented in court by any authorized employee of the school district or open-enrollment charter school, as applicable.

    (f) The court in which a conviction, deferred adjudication, or deferred disposition for an offense under Subsection (a) occurs may order the defendant to attend a program for parents of students with unexcused absences that provides instruction designed to assist those parents in identifying problems that contribute to the students' unexcused absences and in developing strategies for resolving those problems if a program is available.

    (g) If a parent refuses to obey a court order entered under this section, the court may punish the parent for contempt of court under Section 21.002, Government Code.

    (h) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for an offense under Subsection (a) that one or more of the absences required to be proven under Subsection (a) was excused by a school official or should be excused by the court. The burden is on the defendant to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the absence has been or should be excused. A decision by the court to excuse an absence for purposes of this section does not affect the ability of the school district to determine whether to excuse the absence for another purpose.

    (i) In this section, "parent" includes a person standing in parental relation.

     

  • Contact Us

    Gaby Pulido, Dropout Prevention, Intervention & Recovery Coordinator
    Phone: (281) 237-2235
    Email: gabrielapulido@katyisd.org

    Lindsey Cano, Dropout Prevention, Intervention & Recovery Facilitator at MRHS 
    Phone: (281) 237-7843
    Email: lindseykcano@katyisd.org

    Shari Francois Hicks, Dropout Prevention, Intervention & Recovery Facilitator at KHS 
    Phone: (281) 237-1757
    Email: sharilfrancois@katyisd.org

    Caroline McLelland, Dropout Prevention, Intervention & Recovery Facilitator at OTHS, CRHS, JHS 
    Phone: (281) 234-1389
    Email: carolinecmclelland@katyisd.org

    Sonya Rebec-Dobbs, Dropout Prevention, Intervention, & Recovery Facilitator at MCHS 
    Phone: (281) 237-3093
    Email: sonyalrebec-dobbs@katyisd.org

    Nancy Santos, Dropout Prevention, Intervention & Recovery Facilitator at THS 
    Phone: (281) 237-3093
    Email: nancysantos@katyisd.org

    Sharon Wright, Dropout Prevention, Intervention & Recovery Facilitator at PHS 
    Phone: (281) 234-5220
    Email: sharonwright@katyisd.org