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Sen. Bettencourt’s bill to end the Lost Generation of Truant students passes TX Senate 30-1!

SB 1630 creates top-down guidelines for schools creating and implementing attendance policies 

Austin – Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) passed Senate Bill 1630 out of the Texas Senate on  Thursday, April 20, 2023, on an overwhelming vote of 30-1. SB 1630 will create a top-down policy  guideline for schools creating and implementing attendance policies. According to a report by KPRC 2,  during the 2021-2022 school year, there were over 130,000 truancy cases in Houston area school  districts. Furthermore, the Robb Elementary School shooter had hundreds of unexcused absences before  being involuntary withdrawn from his school district. “130,000 truancy cases in Houston means a  million truancy cases in Texas. This is a Lost Generation of truant students, and it has to stop,”  said Sen. Bettencourt. 

Senate Bill 1630 will require each school district to adopt an attendance policy to address truancy. First,  at the start of the year each school district will inform parents and students about the importance of  attending school. Next, notifications will be sent out for excused or unexcused absences via email, text, or  by mail. Then, once a student fails to attend school for a certain period, a meeting between a parent and  an appropriate administrator from the school will be required. If the parent fails to attend the meeting, the  school attendance officer will make a home visit to investigate the student’s behavior and living conditions  and report the findings to the school or district. Finally, SB 1630 will establish guidelines to identify  students in need of in-school or out-of-school support services aimed at addressing a student’s failure to  attend school regularly. 

“What gets measured gets fixed! SB 1630 makes sure kids don’t fall through the cracks and get so  far behind, they can’t catch up. If students miss school, parents are automatically notified, and if  the absenteeism continues, parents and a school administrator meet, and if that meeting fails, then an attendance officer can make a home visit,” concluded Sen. Bettencourt. 

SB 1630 received strong support during public testimony in the Senate Committee of Education, chaired  by Sen. Brandon Creighton. Some of the organizations registered for SB 1630 included: 

– Association of Texas Professional Educators 

– Texas State Teachers Association 

– Texas PTA  

– Texas American Federation of Teachers 

– Texas Classroom Teachers Association  

SB 1630 was received by the Texas House on April 20, 2023.

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