Legal Board Question of the Month

December 2019

Question: Parent Contributing to Non-Attendance/Truant Conduct question – The school has a policy that if a student is late 15 minutes or more late to school/class it’s considered a LOSIT (Loss of Significant Instructional Time). Would this be considered a part of a day? I know if a student is late to school or class it’s a tardy. Based off the law can the school district use this LOSIT as part of the tenth absence within the six month period? Again this is the District’s policy.

Answer: School district policy doesn’t impact Texas law. This question was recently answered, and can be found by searching the board for the word tardies.

In a 1993 opinion, the attorney general concluded that absences generally do not include tardiness to class, especially if the student is present on the campus but late to class. The particular circumstances of a child’s tardiness on a certain day may be sufficiently egregious to constitute an absence, but school districts should not routinely classify each instance of tardiness as an absence for purposes of truancy. (Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. DM-200 (1993)). This would also apply to parent contributing to nonattendance cases.

Also note that the court should not be involved in determining which truancy cases a prosecutor should file. If and when a case is filed, the court’s role is to make a determination on that case.