Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy about a Change in a Texas Law

Gonna say I'm really happy this second. Immensely happy. I started writing about the truancy laws in Texas a couple of years ago. The laws allowed kids to get Class C misdemeanors which followed them their entire lives. I know, it kept my kid Marco from the armed forces when he wanted to join. But the associated fines were so high that it cost families in which brothers took care of their siblings and were 20 minutes late 10 times a semester to be forced to quit high school rather than rack up more fines ($500 a pop, plus court costs) that they would wind up serving jail time for when they couldn't pay. It was very bad and affected 100,000 kids in Texas annually.
But on Friday, Texas' Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that makes truancy a civil offense from here on out. No more criminalizing kids for being late, or even cutting class. There will be civil repercussions but not criminalization. And my editor, Gayle Reaves, and I, worked hard to help get that word out and I think out work was in the mix of things that tipped the scale here in favor of the new law. Cheers to State Sen. Whitmire and his associates for having the courage to challenge the law and get it fixed. A tip of the hat to everyone--and Texas Appleseed knows how big a part they played--in getting this junk off the books. Cheers to all of us! It's nice to be on the winning side now and then!

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