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A truant is a student who stays away from school without permission or an explanation. Truancy laws are designed to encourage school attendance by creating simple court procedures through which children are held accountable for excessive school absences. The courts focus on the best interest of the child when addressing the truant conduct of a child.

Truant conduct is usually prosecuted or addressed as a civil (noncriminal) matter, and the definition and procedures for dealing with truancy are usually located in a state's statutes—often in the family code or education code.

In Texas, truancy laws are primarily governed by the Texas Education Code, which defines truant conduct and establishes the procedures for addressing it. Truancy is considered a conduct issue rather than a criminal one, focusing on the best interest of the child. The state defines a truant student as one who is absent without permission on three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period, or ten or more days within a six-month period. When a student is found to be truant, Texas law provides for truancy prevention measures and may involve truancy courts. These courts have the authority to impose a variety of measures designed to improve school attendance, such as ordering the student to attend counseling or educational programs. The goal is to address the underlying issues causing the truancy and to support the student in returning to regular school attendance. Parents or guardians may also be held responsible for their child's truancy and can face penalties, including fines.

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