Education News

Complaint: School Districts Using Truancy Laws To Push Students With Disabilities Out

Three nonprofits filed the complaint against 13 school districts, including Clear Creek, Conroe, Fort Bend, Galveston, Houston and Pasadena.

Texas has some of the toughest truancy laws in the country for students who miss school.

They can face criminal charges and be prosecuted in adult court.

Now several groups have charged 13 school districts with using those truancy laws to push students with disabilities out of school.

That’s according to a complaint filed Wednesday against Texas Education Agency and the school districts, including Clear Creek, Conroe, Fort Bend, Galveston, Houston and Pasadena.

It’s on behalf of all students with disabilities.

But it details the ordeals of seven students in particular. One is a homeless student who was charged with truancy twice. Teachers marked him absent when he was in his special education class.

The complaint alleges that districts are forcing these and other students with disabilities into GED programs, alternative school and mandatory homeschooling.

It also alleges that the Texas Education Agency has failed to make sure school districts follow state and federal law so that special education students receive the support and services they need.

The groups are asking for an outside investigator to consider the complaint.

A spokeswoman with the Texas Education Agency said that they have not received a formal signed copy of the complaint yet and did not have a comment at this time.

 

The complaint

 

TEA FTAS Force Out Complaint Final May 26 2015 (PDF)

TEA FTAS Force Out Complaint Final May 26 2015 (Text)

 

Related articles:

Report: Texas Truancy Laws Prosecute Mostly Low-Income Students

Fort Bend County Independent School District Suspends Truancy

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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