LETTER: DA explains unexcused school absence changes

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to a new school year and wish you the best in educational endeavors.

In order to make the best of the school year, it is important that each student attend classes every day to accomplish a successful year. It is understandable that students will miss school for illness or death in the family, however, medical or other excuses must be turned in to school personnel to assure that your absence will not be counted against you as an excused absence.

The law has changed this year, drastically reducing the number of unexcused absences a student can have, without severe penalties of failure of that grade. My office is charged with the responsibility of prosecuting habitual truants. In cooperation with the school system, local judges, and my office, truancy will b pursued just as any other crime. Penalties can include community service and even jail time. Parents who continue to allow their child to miss school can also be charged with the misdemeanor offense of improper supervision of a minor, which also carries the possibility of a jail sentence.

It is my hope that parents and students alike will share in the responsibility of students attending school every day and on time. Statistics show that truancy leads to other criminal offenses and it is the goal of the educational and law enforcement community to curtail the excessive absences of some students so that they can achieve success in their lives.

My office is always open to discuss with concerned parents or students having difficulty in school attendance.

Again, best wishes for a successful school year.

Ricky Babin

District Attorney, 23rd JDC