Friday, January 24, 2014

Fort Worth Weekly's Late To Class & Off To Court!

It seems like every month or two Fort Worth Weekly will publish a story about something taking place  in Texas on a scale matched by no other state in the union which is so appallingly, obviously wrong, that my reaction to the information is to think that this is so bad that FW Weekly shining a light on it will surely bring a swift fix.

I can be such a naive optimist.

This week's Fort Worth Weekly expose by Peter Gorman needs to be read all over Texas. And the rest of America.

The article of which I speak is titled Late to Class? Off to Court!

Below are the first two paragraphs. Read them and then go to FW Weekly to read the rest of Late to Class? Off to Court!....

When high school sophomore Brandon Jefferson’s parents split up and his mother’s rheumatoid arthritis worsened to the point that she couldn’t get out of bed, Brandon took on the job of getting his two younger brothers to school. That chore often made him late getting to his own classes at Lakeview Centennial High School in Garland and later at North Mesquite High School and Mesquite Academy, both in the Mesquite school district. No big deal, right? Just explain that you were doing what you had to for your family, and that would be that.

Not in Texas. Instead of being applauded for stepping up, Brandon soon found himself at one of five special truancy courts set up in Dallas County. For his first offense, he was forgiven, but during his junior year he had to continue to help with his brothers and racked up five more appearances at the court for being late to school, each one representing 10 late days — and fines totaling $2,400. He ended up with five Class C misdemeanor convictions on his record, was sentenced to community service, and had his driver’s license suspended. Losing the license meant losing his fast food job, and without his job he had no way to pay his fines. His mother, living on about $700 disability monthly, couldn’t help much, nor could his father.

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