Hundreds of parents are headed to court in Galveston County after La Marque ISD filed a record number of truancy cases against its students.
According to Justice of the Peace Pct. 3 court clerks, 280 truancy cases were filed this school year alone - a sharp spike compared to year's past.
"Maybe twenty or thirty (cases) because they try to work with (truant students) and give them in-school suspension," court clerk Aundrea Temple said of previous school years. "We've never had where (La Marque ISD) filed all these cases."
Temple said the backlog has occurred because new truancy administrators with La Marque ISD aren't completing the necessary preventative measures required before sending kids to court.
"(Court) should be your last option when you're filing here at the court," Temple said. "You're supposed do something within the school setting before you file in the court."
She also claims many of those truancy cases are being filed incorrectly or incompletely. Court clerks showed Local 2 dozens of cases where required student information was not provided. Another pile of cases included truancy charges against children as young as three years old. Temple says if a student is under 12 years old, the parent should be charged, not the student.
Many parents are also claiming that school officials aren't warning them before being served with a subpoena.
"There was no warning," parent Scott Lund said. "There was no contact with us before the officer showed up at our door with the summons for court. My wife was the one who actually received them and she was completely shocked. She called me at work and I was beside myself."
Lund said his son is up for a Student of the Year award at La Marque High School yet is being sent to court over a family vacation.
"These are excused absences," he said. "How can it really be counted against him for a truancy?"
The next wave of truancy cases will be heard Thursday and there's a possibility the presiding judge could decide to dismiss cases filed incorrectly.
La Marque ISD officials declined an on-camera interview for this story but they did tell Local 2 that they do send letters and make phone calls to parents about absences.