Cleveland ISD recognizes the value and importance of school attendance and looks forward to educating your children during the 2015-16 school year. Our district team has been working to revise attendance procedures so that communication is increased and assistance is given to any family struggling with chronic unexcused absences. As part of our ongoing communication, this letter serves to keep you informed of important changes beginning this year.
The 84th Texas Legislature recently passed House Bill 2398, which substantially altered existing truancy laws in Texas. With the passage of the new law, former provisions that criminalized a student’s truant behavior have been repealed and a new civil process governing truancy proceedings takes effect this school year. This change means truancy proceedings against students will now be handled in a civil court. The District is required to provide a written warning to parents at the beginning of the school year informing them 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, that the parent/guardian may be subject to criminal prosecution and, as mentioned, the student is subject to referral to a truancy court for truant conduct.
Specifically, CISD will enforce the Texas compulsory attendance laws as follows:
- Automated phone calls will be placed to parents or guardians notifying them when a student has been marked as absent. It is the parent’s or guardian’s responsibility to ensure that he/she provides current and up to date contact information to the school.
- All students will be issued a warning notice when attendance records reflect that the student has absences without an excuse on three days or parts of days in a four week period. Further, each campus will request a conference with the student and parent or guardian for the purpose of addressing truancy prevention measures for students who continue to exhibit attendance issues in order to improve the student’s overall attendance.
- All students who miss seven days with unexcused absences will have a Home Visit conducted by Officer Allen.
- After a student has seven or more days or parts of days during the school year, students, if older than 12 – will be required to attend the Attendance Coaching Class. This class is an information-based intervention program offered to students as a preventative measure to intervene 1) before students receive a referral to truancy court; and 2) to educate students who are experiencing truancy problems about the consequences associated with unexcused absences. In addition, the program identifies available and appropriate resources for families who are experiencing issues that may be contributing to a student’s truancy. The Attendance Coaching Class is offered to students only once during each school year.
- If a student fails to attend school without an excuse on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six month period in the same school year and those absences have been verified by the campus as unexcused, students 12 and older may be referred to the truancy court of Justice of the Peace, Judge Fuller. At this point, the court could also file a criminal complaint against parents who contribute to the nonattendance of their child, regardless of their child’s age. Please refer to the District’s 2015-2016 Student/Parent Handbook for additional information. Should you or your students need special assistance, experience extenuating circumstances or have additional questions, you may also contact your child’s Assistant Principal.
Presence in school is a strong indicator of future success. We encourage regular attendance and look forward to a successful school year with your child.