Views expressed in this blog are mine alone and are not intended to represent Williamson County policy nor intended as legal advice.
Getting your children to school is part of every parent’s responsibility. The state considers school attendance important enough that it is mandated by law and includes criminal charges for parents who contribute to non-attendance and civil charges for older youth who are truant. The state defines truancy as unexcused absences exceeding 10 days in all or part. This means once your teen has skipped 11 periods in a single semester, the school SHALL begin truancy proceedings. It also means that every time your child is late to school or an individual class by more than 15 minutes, they will be marked as absent. Do that often enough, and you can be criminally charged and your child, if they are older than 12, can be charged with truant conduct. Either charge results in a visit to my court for both of you.
“You’re ugly.” “You smell.” “You’re stupid.”
Pushed into a locker. Tripped getting to your seat. Books knocked off your desk.
Being isolated. Having no one willing to sit with you. Whispers and rumors and giggles following you.
These are all forms of bullying. They happen every day in our schools. They are NOT acceptable, normal behavior. They hurt everyone involved – the child who’s bullied, the child who bullies, the bystanders, the teachers and the parents. It’s directly related to an increased risk of truancy. Addressing the bullying problem in our schools starts with acknowledging the problem.
One of the options we give people who have a hard time paying their fines is community service. Sometimes, community service is part of their remedial order, especially for juveniles. I thought I’d go over some of the options available in our area.
We tell people that they can volunteer with any non-profit in the area that will agree to sign off on their hours. Goodwill is a common source of hours, but there are plenty of other options.
A food desert is defined as an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. "Many poor people live in food deserts—where they have plenty of food but none of it healthy". Where are the food deserts in our county, specifically in Precinct 4, and what can we do about them?
Once a week, I see truancy cases. Students and parents come in to my court to discuss why the student is missing school and what needs to change. In almost every case, there is more going on than a brief hearing can address. We work with schools to create plans to recover credits. The goal is always for the student to graduate or move on to the next grade level.