District Attendance Officer
cmullen1@aisd.net

Attendance – Retired Police Officer – Bachelor’s Degree @Indiana University/Masters Degree @TCU

I am the Truancy Officer for Arlington High School and its feeder schools.  But there is more to know…For instance, I was named after Hurricane Carla which struck the coast of Texas in 1961.  What’s odd is that I was born and raised in Indiana…about 950 miles from Arlington, Texas.  Who knew?

How did I get here?  Well, after graduating high school, I attended college at Indiana University and studied Criminal Justice.  I received my Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Studies, and yes, coming from the Hoosier State, I love college basketball.  I later attended college at Texas Christian University where I earned a Master of Liberal Arts Degree.  And yes, I love my Frogs!

I moved to Arlington many years ago and worked as a Police Officer at the Arlington Police Department.  While working at the department I was assigned to the School Resource Unit from 1995 to 2006.  My assignment in that unit put me at Arlington High School as the School Resource Officer, and I’ve been in Colt Country ever since.  I retired from the police department in 2006 and after a four day retirement, the Arlington Independent School District hired me as one of the six District Attendance Officers.

Hobbies?  Yes, I have a few.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I love running. I’ve run marathons in the past, but my focus now is mostly on running half marathons. I also have an affinity for riding bikes as another form of getting exercise. I am a huge college sports fan, but I also enjoy cheering on the professional teams.  I like to read and travel as well.

My favorite quote:  “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”  I don’t know who said it, but I think it says a lot.

Finally:  I am committed to doing anything I can to help all of my students in any way I can, but I can’t do it all by myself.  I will support the students, and I ask that you, as parents, get on the bus with me in doing just that…they need support from all angles.  Your help is imperative, and I know that if we work together, our kids will be able to do great things!

Let me begin my saying that your child’s attendance at school is very important.  Your kids are my kids…plain and simple.  I want them to attend school, I want them to attend class, and I want them to graduate…equally important, I want them to be able to have an education that will afford them the opportunity to be self-sufficient, productive members in our society.  So, let’s talk attendance…

Any unexcused absence, whether it is a full day or a part of a day, counts against them in regards to the truancy laws…NOTE:  a part of a day is one class.  Each of us has a responsibility…students have to attend all of their classes, parents have to report the student’s absences, and I have to enforce the laws surrounding the lack of attendance.  And it is the unexcused absences that can cause problems.  So, let me answer some questions…

1.  What do I do if my child has to be absent from school?

If your child is going to be absent because he/she is ill, there is a family emergency or they have a doctor’s appointment, it is the parent’s responsibility to contact the student’s respective attendance office and report the absence.  A parent must call each day the student is ill, and if they are absent for three consecutive days due to illness, a doctor’s note must be provided to excuse the absences, otherwise the absences will be counted as unexcused.

2.  Will the Truancy Officer come to my house and take my child to school?

No, I cannot legally provide transportation simply because of the liabilities that surround transporting students in my personal vehicle.  It is the parent’s responsibility to get their child to school.

3.  What happens when I get my child to school, and they choose to skip school or skip a class?

If a student skips school and/or class, his/her attendance will be coded as unexcused.  He/she is subject to being referred to the Truancy Court Prosecutor of they are in violation of the Truancy Conduct Statute under Section 65.003 (a), Family Code.  The Truancy Court Prosecutor will file the case against them if they are in violation of the truancy laws, and they would be required to appear in court.  If they are found guilty, they are subject to the punishment imposed upon them by the court (community service, fine, loss of driving privileges, etc.).

4.  What if a student refuses to attend On Campus Suspension, CHOICES or an assignment to Turning Point?

The absences will be coded as unexcused and can result in the student being in violation of the truancy laws depending on his/her circumstances.

5.  As a parent, what is the main thing about my child’s attendance that I need to know?

The main thing to know regarding your child’s attendance is that you, as a parent, are responsible for monitoring your child’s attendance and ensuring that they attend school/class.  The law requires this of you.  Given this, I encourage parents to stay in communication with the school and ask questions about your child’s attendance.  Also, you can monitor their attendance by signing up for Parent Self Serve via the AISD website and the school your child attends.  It is a great tool.