“Further Truancy Would Result In Charges”: Mom Has Had It With Truant Son Finding Ways To Skip School, Ensures He Never Does So Again
Teenage rebellion is a natural part of growing up. However, for parents, it’s often a difficult and stressful time. Reddit user u/HelpIHateTexas shared a story on the subreddit r/pettyrevenge about her 16-year-old son that perfectly illustrates this.
The boy started skipping school. It got to a point that no matter what the mom did, he found a way to get out of classes. Worried that he was putting his future at risk, she turned to a police officer she knew for help.
This mom couldn’t get her teenage son to stop skipping classes
Image credits: cottonbro studio (not the actual photo)
So she asked a police officer she knew to play a trick on him
Image credits: Martin Jernberg (not the actual photo)
Image source: HelpIHateTexas
We got in touch with u/HelpIHateTexas and she was kind enough to give more information on her son’s troublesome time.
“My relationship with my son was very good,” the mom told Bored Panda. “As long as he made good grades, communicated his whereabouts, stayed out of trouble with the law, did not do hard drugs and/or alcohol, and practiced safe sex, I let him make his own decisions. This particular instance broke the ‘stay out of trouble with the law’ rule, so I had to act, for both of our benefits!”
When asked about her son’s academic performance, u/HelpIHateTexas said, “In general I had to ‘chase’ J to make him keep up with his academic responsibilities. He made it to graduation but not without a fair amount of nagging. School just wasn’t a priority for him.”
u/HelpIHateTexas also added that “college and university are not for everyone, and I knew pretty early he was not an academic-oriented child. That was OK, but I at least wanted him to finish high school so he had options.”
The post highlights just how seriously some states take school attendance
Image credits: Dids (not the actual photo)
Schools take truancy seriously, as excessive absences negatively impact a child’s ability to be a successful student. Data from The Department of Education shows that kids who miss a lot of classes are more likely to fall behind in reading skills, and have a higher drop-out rate than their peers who attend them.
Additionally, public schools in some states like California and Texas receive state and federal funding based on their daily attendance, so they’re heavily motivated in getting students to come in every single day.
Under the “compulsory education” laws in Texas, all children must attend school from the time they’re 6 (or are enrolled in first grade) until they turn 19. There are exceptions, and some students may leave school early if they meet the Texas requirements for dropping out at age 17 or 18.
Although the state has decriminalized its treatment of truants, some parents could still face criminal penalties for not making their children go to school.
In Texas, parents can, in fact, face harsh repercussions if their children routinely skip classes
Image credits: EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA (not the actual photo)
In 2015, Texas changed the way it deals with truant students. Instead of sending them to juvenile court, the state now has a multistage process focused on addressing the underlying causes of attendance programs. When a student has three or more unexcused absences in a six-month period during the same school year, the district will either:
- refer the student to counseling, mediation, or other services; or
- require the student and parents to follow a behavior improvement plan.
If those prevention measures fail and students rack up 10 or more absences in 6 months, schools will refer them to truancy court unless those absences resulted from pregnancy, homelessness, being in foster care, or being the main bread-earners in their families. Although truancy isn’t a crime, this civil court may order the truants to take “remedial” steps, such as:
- attending school regularly;
- attending a tutorial program or a high school equivalency prep course;
- performing community service;
- attending a special program that provides training or help with things like substance abuse, counseling, or job skills.
Truancy courts may order the parents of frequently absent students to do certain things too, including participate in counseling, take special classes, or perform community service.
If parents disobey those orders, they could be charged with contempt and face fines, up to 3 years in jail, and/or community service. Parents could also face misdemeanor charges if they were criminally negligent by not forcing their kids to go to school.
Although her methods were unusual, it sounds like this mom successfully managed to get her teen to change his ways, and they both avoided any further trouble.
“There were a lot of replies suggesting I failed as a parent because I did not include information on the many discussions my son and I had about why he didn’t want to go to school,” u/HelpIHateTexas added. “Of course, we had those discussions! There was no bullying and no trauma. It basically boiled down to him having a bad sleep schedule. He was a ‘night owl’ and even when I grounded him from games and TV, he stayed up all night. This made him want to stay home and sleep all day!”
Despite some negative responses on Reddit, she stands by the decision to stage the arrest, saying, “No other ‘battle plan’ would have worked as quickly and thoroughly as the arrest I staged. The change in his attendance was immediate and we had way less angst in our morning routine. I don’t regret handling it how I did at all.”