Parents Need to be Aware Truancy Can Lead to Drugs

Some parents and children attended Tuesday night's drug and truancy session at Lufkin Middle school to get more information, others were ordered to go by a judge.

Angelina County Judge Billy Ball says truancy is a problem in Angelina County.

"In 2006, according to TEA, Angelina County had 8.7% drop out rate for Angelina County.  In the year 2000 36% of kids that started school did not graduate.  It's about 30% nationwide," Judge Ball said.

The Angelina County Juvenile Probation Department says if your teenager is missing school, there are several things that could be signs of drug use.

Dr. Sharon Young, the area coordinator for Be Safe Magazine, said, "Any increased tiredness, anything that has to do with changes in friends, change in mental state, a change in grades, a decline in grades, a lack of interest in grades, school and a lack in interest in what is normally their high points."

Both departments say there's a strong correlation between drugs and truancy, and parents need to be aware.

Judge Ball said, "I did a survey in the first four years of when I was in office, because as you know, I set about 98% of bonds in Angelina County.  So I asked them if you are unemployed, these were people in jail, 64% said, 'no,' graduate high school, 64% don't graduate."

In fact, Judge Ball says he sees about 40 truancy cases in the county a week.

Parents could even face fines of up to $500 if their child is truant.

The Be Safe Magazine, the juvenile probation department, truancy court and Lufkin Independent School District all worked together to put on the session.