DISD has a truancy epidemic. The district has so many truants that a special court is needed to help prosecute school children who won’t show up for their free government education.
Truancy enforcement is a win/win for Dallas. The city gets the fines levied against parents, and schools get more funding when an extra body is in the classroom.
That bring us to the truancy court judge Douglas Dunn. Dunn is more of a fascist hall monitor than neutral arbiter. Here is an instant classic from DD.
The students aren’t treated with kid gloves – two students were escorted from Judge Douglas Dunn’s courtroom in handcuffs last week. Dunn, who presides in the central truancy court in the Frank Crowley Courts Building, recently told a student that if he didn’t straighten up, he wouldn’t have to worry about being disciplined by his mother – but rather by his “boyfriend in county jail.” He also made the student tuck in his shirt and pull up his pants before approaching the bench.
Go to school or get raped by your “boyfriend in county jail.” Disgusting. Judge Dunn sinks to a level of discourse below that of daytime TV judges. For shame.
I’m not a truancy court expert. I did preside over a truancy court in Texarkana a few times. No one was arrested in my court, no rapes were threatened. Somehow, we managed to get kids back to class.
If Judge Dunn really is incarcerating children (which should be impossible, truancy is a class C traffic ticket level offense) then these defendants should have a lawyer. Paying for defense lawyers would slow down the gravy train for the city. But if this is about justice then that shouldn’t matter.
Judge Dunn seems to enjoy throwing out big fines to to the parents. Never mind that the fact that we are in a recession and most of these parents are broke to begin with. This is law enforcement for the sake of law enforcement. This isn’t about education, it’s intimidation.
Finally, another brilliant insight from judge Dunn..
He took a similar approach with another truant, with a record of criminal offenses. “You’re not very good at this. You need to find another line of work.”
Pot meet kettle.