Some Texas students claim that they were unfairly targeted with misdemeanor charges simply for being disabled. The state has fairly strict rules for being absent without an excuse from school, also known as being truant. Many disabled students require more time out of school than their peers, although they can still face a misdemeanor charge for failing to go to school.
The Texas Education Agency and 13 different school districts were all named in a complaint filed by various nonprofit organizations on behalf of a group of disabled students. According to the complaint, many disabled students were unfairly targeted, charged as truant and then purposely pushed out of the school system. Instead, they were forced to take the GED. The GED program is not necessarily equipped to accommodate disabled students, and 1,200 disabled students failed their GED from 2010 to 2013.
While there has been some movement to decriminalize failure to regularly attend school, there are many people who still support charging teenage students who may be unable to attend school even for medical or health reasons. Several Texas judges are still in favor of this law despite the 100,000 students who had to face misdemeanor charges in 2014. Their crime? Apparently, one too many days outside of the classroom.
Disabled students can truly benefit from being in a hands-on high school environment where there are services to help them rise to their full potential. However, when students must miss school without an excuse, they can be unceremoniously forced out, handed a misdemeanor charge and slapped with a fine. Educating young people is critical for the future of Texas and the rest of the United States, and minors and their families may want to consider what legal action might be best for handling the charges and hopefully returning their child to school.
Source: statesman.com, “Disabled students file complaint over truancy charges“, May 27, 2015