House committee hearing 10 bills easing truancy punishments

By EVA RUTH MORAVEC
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - House lawmakers are hearing 10 bills aimed at easing truancy laws a week after an advocacy group reported that Texas prosecutes twice as many teens for unexcused absences than all other states combined.

The proposals, by Republicans and Democrats, will be presented Wednesday during a hearing by the House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues.

They seek to address Texas law under which students ages 12 and older are prosecuted for skipping school.

Currently, students with three unexcused absences in four weeks can be ordered to appear in court. Schools must file charges against students with more than 10 unexcused absences in six months.

Texas Appleseed reported last week that 115,000 children were prosecuted for truancy-related misdemeanors in 2013.

Texas and Wyoming prosecute truancy in adult courts.

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