UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:54am
BRYAN -- Truancy is a problem in our schools nation-wide and Bryan-College Station is no exception.
Every year truancy accounts for more than one-third of absences, so to help with the issue, a Brazos County judge started placing repeat offenders in a program aimed to help create accountability.
Truancy is one of the leading reasons why students don't get their high school diploma, so Brazos County Judge Tommy Munoz, began enrolling students who repeatedly skip school into a program as a last resort effort to help get them back on track before they're placed into a juvenile detention center.
"All I want them to be is a good, productive citizen here in Bryan, Texas, College Station, Texas or Brazos County."
Students who are placed into the program called Aim must carry around a hand-held GPS device that monitors their whereabouts from the time they leave for school in the morning to the time they get home at night.
They also get one-on-one mentoring with a counselor a couple times a week.
"We listen to what's going on in their life and we start leading them to what is ultimately much more better decisions and a much better quality of life and we all know that it starts with education," said Aim president, Travis Knox.
And Judge Munoz says the program isn't just about improving attendance, it's also about teaching them what it means to be responsible for their actions.
"The schools have rules. You break the rules you have to come to court. For the adults, what do we have? Laws. You break the law, you go to jail," said Judge Munoz. "So they have to learn at a young age what the possibilities they are going to be facing out there."
Judge Munoz has already seen a 24-percent increase in attendance since he started using the program back in 2009 and he says he plans to see those numbers improve as time goes on.