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Failure to Attend School
Criminal Jurisdiction

The offense of “failure to attend school” may be prosecuted in the Justice Court of any Justice of the Peace Precinct in which the individual required to attend school resides or in which the school is located. (Tex. Educ. Code §25.094).

Mandatory action against student by school district

Under Section 25.0951 of the Texas Education Code, if a student fails to attend school without excuse on 10 or more days or parts of days within a 6-month period in the same school year, the school district must either file a complaint against the student who is 12 years of age or older and younger than 18 years of age, for “failure to attend school,” or file a complaint against the student’s parent for “parent contributing to non-attendance,” or both, or refer the student who is 10 years of age or older to the juvenile court for conduct indicating a need for supervision.

If the school district chooses to file the charge of “failure to attend school” against the student, it must do so within ten (10) school days of the student’s last absence. The court must dismiss charges that are not filed within 10 school days of the student’s 10th absence. Tex. Educ. Code §25.0951.

Permissive action against student by school district

When a student fails to attend school without excuse on 3 or more days or parts of days within a 4-week period, the school district may file a complaint against the student who is 12 years of age or older and younger than 18 years of age, or the student’s parent, or both, or refer the student to the juvenile court for conduct indicating a need for supervision. (Tex. Educ. Code §25.0951).

The offense of “failure to attend school” is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.00. In addition to the fine, court costs are charged as authorized by law.

Criminal procedures are found in Chapter 45 of the Texas Code of Criminal procedure. Specific procedures for “failure to attend school” proceedings are found in Article 45.054 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Rules of Evidence governing the trials of criminal actions in the District Courts apply to a criminal proceeding in the Justice Courts.

The Harris County District Attorney prosecutes “failure to attend school” proceedings filed in the Harris County Justice Courts.

The Harris County Justices of the Peace have promulgated Local Rules. You may view the Local Rules at each Justice Court, or you may download them from this website.

More Information about Failure to Attend School Cases



General Information

This information is furnished to you to provide basic information relative to the law governing procedures for Failure to Attend School and Parent Contributing to Failure to Attend School cases in the Harris County Justice Courts.

The Harris County Justices of the Peace and the Clerks of the Harris County Justice Courts are not allowed to give legal advice. You are urged to review the applicable laws and to consult an attorney of your choice for further information or answers to specific legal questions.

You have the right to a trial by a jury and to be represented by an attorney of your choice, or to represent yourself.

Disclaimer: The law is constantly changing and there may be times when the information on this web site will not be current. This information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. This information is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject and is not a substitute for advice from an attorney.