Truancy Diversion Program

truancy2In Marshall ISD, attendance counts!

MISD recognizes the value and importance of school attendance and looks forward to educating all of our students during the school year. 

Our district team is constantly working to address our attendance procedures so that communication is increased and assistance is given to any student or family struggling with chronic unexcused absences.

This web page is provided to help you familiarize yourself with new regulations for school districts in regards to truancy as outlined in the recently passed House Bill 2398, from the Texas Legislature. This legislation has significantly altered existing truancy laws in Texas; the passage of the new law has repealed the former provision which criminalizes a student's truant behavior and instituted a new, civil process governing truancy proceedings. This new law took effect during the 2015-2016 school year.

The change means that truancy proceedings against students will now be handled in civil court. MISD is required to provide a written warning to parents at the beginning of each school year informing them that if a 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, MISD 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:
   » (1) Three days or parts of days in a four-week period or
   » (2) Five or more days or parts of days during the school year.
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 exhibit attendance issues in order to improve the student's overall attendance.

• After a student has five or more (unexcused) days or parts of days during the school year, parents and students (if older than 12) will be required to attend the Truancy Diversion Program (TDP). The TDP is an information based intervention program offered to parents and students as a preventative measure to intervene: (1) before students receive a referral to truancy court; and (2) to educate parents or guardians and 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 TDP is offered to students and parents 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 prosecutor of the truancy court of Harrison County. At this point, the court could also file a criminal complaint against parents who contribute to the non-attendance of their child, regardless of the child's age.

Presence in school is a strong indicator of future success. It is the goal of MISD to support all of our students and work with their families to address any concerns regarding these new policies. Please contact our Department of Administrative Services at 903-927-8705 with any questions or concerns. Should you or your students need special assistance, experience extenuating circumstances or have questions beyond the campus level, you may also contact the Campus Behavior Coordinator assigned to your child's campus.