Dallas Truancy Judge Douglas Dunn- Go To School, Or Meet Your “Boyfriend In County Jail”

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.

From DMN-

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.


4 responses to “Dallas Truancy Judge Douglas Dunn- Go To School, Or Meet Your “Boyfriend In County Jail””

  1. M. Smith says:

    Mr. Guest,
    I agree with some of your comments; however, place yourself in the judge’s place. He’s in court day in and day out; he sees the same faces day after day. That’s a lot of frustration. He’s trying to use every tool he has to make an impression on young people. If taling harshly to a young person will get some attention, I say, “Go for it!”
    As a citizen, I’m a firm believer in due process and fair representation. As a parent and teacher, I value what happens in thousands of classrooms every day. I see the problem every day. I’ll accept that there are people in my profession who come to school to collect pay checks. They use up every available sick day and holiday, yet they still collect their stubs on the 15th of the month. On the other hand, we deal with a large population of people who are in survival mode. They value things like rent, food, paying the light bill, keeping themselves and their kids in shoes. If that means the older kids need to stay home once in a while to take care of the babies, that’s what happens. These people don’t have time to value education, so their kids miss a class here or there, then days, then more days.

    It’s hard to value school, when you want to survive. So take pot-shots at the truancy judge. Take pot-shots at the DISD. Unless you can walk in our shoes to see what we deal wtih, your opinion is just that. I’m not sure it holds much water with those of us who see the real world.

  2. an ex-highschool student says:

    I have been to Dunn’s court room twice. Both times I was seperated from my parents and taken to another room to be questioned. After which I was told that if I just pled guilty and paid the fine it would be over and I could leave. This dident seem like the thing to be telling a confused and scared group of minors. Im just wondering is it legal what they are doing? I have alot more to say if you would like to hear. please E-mail me

  3. DD Defender says:

    I have know Judge Dunn since his days as a Family Law attorney in Dallas County. My sister has also met with his sharp toung and heavy hand. I am currently involved in another truancy case with Judge Dunn where I HOPE he puts this youth in hand cuffs.
    My sister was freaked out in his court room. She got a job, paid her fines, followed the rules at school and did the community service handed down to her and her case was dismissed. Judge Dunn makes it clear that the fines are the youth’s and not the parents. It is the youth’s responsibility to pay them not the parents. If the parents pay them the youth should be thankful. He also inforces a great sense of respect for ALL of the adults in the court room. (One of his rules…. besides pulling up one’s pants…. is that if the parents are there with the youth they MUST hold the door open for their parents.) Intimidation? Maybe, but it’s fear that our youth have lost for one reason or another. A fear/respect for authority that needs to be reinstated. If Judge Dunn can spark the smallest bit of respect for adults in his court room. Good for him!
    Without this respect for authority, these youth are on a quick path to unplesant futures (like shaking up in a jail cell with thier “boy/girl friend”. Without a clear sense of consiquence (which many of our youth lack) the possibility of future criminal behavior increases.
    Judge Dunn is not just doing a service for the citizens of Dallas and DISD today, he is demonstrating to these youth that they can’t do as they please… now and/or in adulthood… hopefully turning on the light bulb in their brains that will prevent future deviant behavior. THANK YOU JUDGE DUNN!

  4. Upset Parent says:

    I agree with the ex-high school student. I went to court with my child 7/21/2009. The hold court room got quite when Judge Dunn began to speak to the kids. He is so amazing, he had me scared. He didn’t put this on the parents at all. Only thing he ask me if my son have a TV in his room or if we had cable (I didn’t agree with him about the cable because my other children is going to school and they are passing to the next grade). I’ve talk to my child several times about going to school. But he just didn’t get it. Me and my son face the judge. We son was the last case to be called. My son seen 5 children before him put in handcuffs. My son didn’t know what to say all when Judge Dunn was asking him questions. He ask my son did he pick up cans, cut people grass, or anything else to get the money for his class and his fine and my son said no. Also, he ask if he did his community service. He told the judge I did my community service, but I didn’t take the class. Judge Dunn talk to him about life and education. Also, Judge Dunn told him my son he act like he don’t care. So he told him to sit down and they put handcuffs on him. I began to cry, but at the same time I said to myself why am I crying. My son direspect me and he didn’t go to school. When the judge told us to come back up. I explain to him why the fine couldn’t be paid. I told Judge Dunn I lost my job(I was on my job for 5 years) because I had to take my son to counceling and other things to get him on the right track. Far as the class my son had to take, I told Judge Dunn I called them several times and no response. So he gave my son up to the 28th of June to take the class and if it is not done he will go to jail. Also, if he don’t pay the fine he will not be able to get his license until the fine is paid. I think Judge Dunn woke alot of children up that day. I hope my child learned a lesson behind this and he will do better at home and at school. THANKS JUDGE DUNN YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!!

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