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The Source: Keeping Kids Out Of Court For Truancy

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Depending on where you go to school, getting caught skipping repeatedly in San Antonio could mean anything from a slap on the wrist to a day in court. The disparity in how school districts addressed the problem plaguing the city concerned many. 

A task force composed of city, county, and state lawmakers, as well as school officials, was formed to address the problems of truancy in San Antonio. One of the chief goals was to address the root causes and keep kids out of a courtroom.

Failure to attend school (FTAS) is a class C misdemeanor in Texas and has kids going to adult courtrooms, whereas a child in need of supervision (CINS) is a juvenile court issue.  

Many studies have shown that criminalizing the young for this is a common entry point for the school-to-prison pipeline. Kids are more likely to drop out as well.

What are the recommendations of the task force and what will school districts be doing in the upcoming year?

Guests:

  • Rey Saldaña, District 4 city council member and chair of the San Antonio/Bexar County Joint Committee on Truancy.
  • Vicky Sullivan, director of pupil personnel at Northside ISD.
  • Gary Pollock, director of attendance accountability at San Antonio ISD.
  • Mike Villareal, state represenative for San Antonio who spearheaded legislation on the issue.

*This is the first segment in the August 12 edition of The Source, which airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM.  

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive