PARENTS in Texas could face larger fines if they try to crack down on truancy.
Lawmakers have proposed tougher penalties years after truancy was decriminalized by the state in 2015.
Gary VanDeaver, a Republican politician in the Texas House of Representatives, said he wants to “put teeth back” on truancy laws Dallas morning .
He has introduced a bill that would increase the fine to $400 for the first truancy offense.
Depending on the number of violations, penalties could be as high as $800.
VanDeaver said the fines could be waived if the parents attend class, the student gets a high final grade, or enlists in the military.
The legislature’s bill was left pending at the committee stage, according to the committee Texas Legislature.
Prior to sweeping legislation in 2015, students faced arrest if they missed too many classes.
said Joe Cantu of the NBC affiliate WOAI: “I remember not being able to believe that I was arrested for missing school.”
He told the outlet that he was absent from school for two weeks due to medical reasons.
Cantu said his mother could not produce the papers proving his absence.
He said, “That way, my family would be forced to appear in court for truancy.”
Previously, parents could be fined up to $500, while students could be given criminal records.
Students risked jail time if their parents couldn’t afford the punishment.
Police cracked down when students missed three days of school in four weeks.
However, truancy was decriminalized in Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law.
Texas Senator John Whitmire said: “Most truancy problems are hardship related.
“Criminalizing hardship just doesn’t solve anything. It costs especially low-income families. It doesn’t address the root causes.”
Abbott called on school districts to implement preventative measures to address truant students.
In Wyoming, on the other hand, schooling is compulsory until students are 16 or 10 years oldth Degree.
Parents who break the laws can be sentenced to up to 10 days in jail or a $25 fine.
In Pennsylvania, parents could be fined up to $300 for a truancy-related offense.
Lawyers at the Gamino law firm have warned that parents of truant students in Wisconsin may face court appearances and be fined up to $500.