Brazos County Examining Ways to Curb Truancy

By: Meredith Stancik Email
By: Meredith Stancik Email

Brazos County Justice of the Peace Tommy Munoz is trying to get more kids back inside the classroom. He is teaming up with Bryan Independent School District to establish a pilot program to address truancy.

The program will put electronic monitoring devices on students who skip class too often. Those students will be tracked 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"We're just going to try and see what it does, how it does, and it may not work here," Brazos County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Place 2 Judge Tommy Munoz said. "However, it may work here and it may be something that we need to get more of. We'll take it a day at a time."

The program is expected to get underway in the coming months. 10 electronic monitoring devices will be ordered at a cost of $20,000.

It is not yet known who will pay for the program. Munoz says the truant's parents may have to foot the bill.

This particular program is ongoing in Midland County. Judge Munoz says they are currently having huge success in their monitoring of students. When they began the program compliance rates were 20 percent, now that they are using the electronic monitoring process they have achieved a compliance rate of 95 percent.

Munoz says truancy not only deters students were completing their education, but it also acts as a gateway to the commission of illegal activities, such as vandalism, theft or more serious crimes.

Munoz says another great benefit of the program is that the use of electronic monitoring reduces truancy in the schools attended by monitored students. Other students can see that skipping school could result in the court monitoring their daily activity.

About 1,800 truancy cases were filed in the Bryan Independent School District from January 2007 to July 2008. This number include parents who were also cited for their underage children not showing up for class.

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