EAST MONTGOMERY COUNTY – The New Caney Independent School District recognized Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts at a “Salute to the Stars” Thursday evening in Porter. NCISD Executive Director of Human Resources Dr. Jon Kramer said the “Star Achievement Award” is presented to a person who has “exhibited lifetime dedication to children and devoted both time and effort in the pursuit of excellence in education.”

Judge Metts has significantly reduced the truancy rate in Pct. 4, which includes not only New Caney ISD, but also Splendora ISD and a portion of Conroe ISD. In his acceptance speech, the Judge said New Caney ISD was the first school district he met with to discuss the truancy issue when he was judge-elect during the summer of 2002.

“I gave them my word I’d work hard to improve attendance and I’m thankful for the school officials who make my job easier,” Judge Metts said.

Since taking office in January 2003, Judge Metts has heard over 30,000 truancy-related cases.

Judge Metts has implemented programs and policies that have effectively reduced the number of fail to attend filings throughout the precinct.*

The Judge said the efforts of many went into the successful reduction in truancy, including Pct. 4 Juvenile Specialist Jane Landers and Juvenile Case Manager Dianne Rogers. He said working with school children was a lifelong dream of Rogers’. Both Landers and Rogers do an outstanding job, he said, as does the office of Pct. 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden.

“We call him Rowdy on the spot,” Judge Metts said.

He also praised the efforts of Montgomery County Juvenile Probation officers, school district police and school officials. In addition to helping set children on the path toward becoming productive adults, the Judge said improving attendance reduces juvenile crime, which benefits the entire community.

Judge Metts said he never intended to gain recognition through his efforts to combat truancy and was humbled by the award.

“You can count on me,” Judge Metts said.

*Aug. 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008
• Failure to Attend School cases filed: 6,111
• Parent contributing to Nonattendance Cases Filed: 1,427

Aug. 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009
• Failure to Attend School cases filed: 4,412
• Parent contributing to Nonattendance Cases Filed: 1,262

Current school year (incomplete) Aug. 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010
• Failure to Attend School cases filed: 2,011
• Parent contributing to Nonattendance Cases Filed: 289

Same period last school year (Aug. 1, 2008 to March 31, 2009)
• Failure to Attend School cases filed: 3,616
• Parent contributing to Nonattendance Cases Filed: 697

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