House Education Committee Passes Truancy Bill

Rep. Jimmie Hall
SANTA FE  Legislation to ensure all New Mexico students make it to class passed the House Education Committee by a vote of 7-5. The bill, HB 240, is sponsored by Rep. Jimmie Hall It would establish programs to prevent truancy, and it would also allow driver’s licenses of habitually truant students to be suspended.
“In order to learn, our students need to be in class,” Hall said. “The steps outlined in this bill would help schools identify and assist students before they make skipping class part of their daily routine.” 
The bill would require school districts and charter schools to implement an early warning system that would identify students who are either habitually truant or at risk of dropping out. The early warning system would notify parents when their student has three or more absences. The proposal would also require the student and parents to meet with a truancy prevention team to develop an attendance plan when the student has five or more absences.
Parents of a habitually truant student would also be notified when their child had 10 or more absences. This proposal would also put steps in place to suspend the driver’s licenses of habitually truant students with 10 or more absences in a school year.
Habitually truant students are more likely to drop out of school. Last year, almost 15 percent of New Mexico students were considered habitually truant.