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Sunday, July 31, 2011

This week's "Ask the Judge" Column in La Prensa, 7-31

Ask the Judge: Truancy still a major problem
By Judge Steve Walker

Over the past five months we have addressed all aspects of the various dockets that Justice of the Peace Court covers as far as its jurisdiction.

Months ago we pointed out that the number one docket in a Justice of the Peace Court is the ever growing problem of truancy. The student drop out rate continues to skyrocket and will continue to escalate especially due to the major cuts in education by the 82nd legislature.

With less support staff on campuses and a reduced number of teachers working in the classroom, the class sizes will dramatically increase, special needs students will be mainstreamed into the classrooms, and teachers will face many more challenges and obstacles in motivating students to show up for class.

In a past column it was pointed out that the truancy rate is due to a number of mitigating factors that include but not exclusive, to bored and unchallenged students, gang participation, family crisis, domestic violence, students forced to work to help support their families, unexpected pregnancies, lack of day care for those teenage girls who have babies, homelessness and students and families who do not value or see the need for education.

It was also noted that there are limited alternatives to attending a public school to include home schooling, private school, and obtaining a GED.

The encouraging news is that for those students who are cited by the four school districts that our precinct covers, we have remedies at our disposal to encourage and court order those truant offenders back to the classroom. The newest tool to encourage students back in the classroom is mandated tutoring in lieu of community service which was covered in this column two weeks ago.

Precinct 2’s jurisdiction over school districts include: Independent School Districts (ISD) from Northside, Northeast, San Antonio, Edgewood, Southwest Prep, Medina Valley, Premier High School and some Charter Schools as well.

Students who have not reached the age of 18 must attend school on a daily basis until they have earned a high school diploma or obtained a GED. That is the current law. Once the student has begun the school year he/she must finish that school year no matter his/her age.

Although pre-K is not required, if the parent enrolls their child into the program, the student is bound to attend once enrolled.

The final goal of the Justice of the Peace Court is to encourage or court order the students to complete their education and either walk the stage with a high school diploma or obtain the GED. If they refuse to cooperate and are show/caused and not 17 years old, the consequences may include the student being sent to juvenile detention in handcuffs. That is where Pct 2’s jurisdiction ends and the probation officer’s jurisdiction begins.

Lastly as always, if you are due in court, be sure to show up to court on time. It is in everyone’s best interest.

Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2 Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and a former Journalist.

Governor Rick Perry calls for day of prayer in Houston, 8-6

Governor Rick Perry (photo) has ordered a day of prayer and fasting on Aug. 6th to “seek God’s guidance and wisdom in addressing the challenges that face our communities, states and nation." It is part of what is being described as a non-denominational, apolitical, Christian prayer meeting hosted by the American Family Association at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

Perry will participate in the all-day event that encourages people to bring a Bible and a notebook. Perry has invited every governor in the country to attend, and he is urging them to issue similar proclamations.

AUSA hosts Family/Faith/Freedom celebration in Houston, 8-5

You are invited to join a celebration of diversity, inclusion and unity to reaffirm the vital importance of the separation of religion and government.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the ACLU of Texas are sponsoring a "Family, Faith and Freedom" celebration on Friday, August 5th - the day before Governor Rick Perry's Christian prayer rally in Houston.

Featured speakers are the Rev. William Lawson, founding pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston, and the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. Additional speakers representing a wide range of beliefs from the Houston community will also take part.

Time: Friday August 5th @ 7 p.m.
Place: Mt Ararat Baptist Church, 5801 West Montgomery Road, Houston, 77091

To show the rest of the country and the world that there is still a respect for the Constitution and appreciation for diversity in Houston, we urge all of our members and friends to turn out for this program.

Please pass this invitation on to your friends and acquaintances.

Eric Lane
President - AUSA Chapter

Interfaith time of prayer @ Beacon Hill Presbyterian, 8-6

The San Antonio Community of Congregations and the Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church (photo) invite you to an interfaith time of prayer for our country and for our leaders. All people of all faiths are invited to come together in prayer on Saturday, August 6th from 2-5 p.m. at the Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church, 1101 W. Woodlawn, San Antonio, TX 78201.

Our Governor asked that Christian's join in prayer for our country on this day, and while we are grateful for that, the San Antonio Community of Congregations would like to invite the entire faith community together to pray for our nation.

We have a place for all people, all voices, and all faith families. We invite you to join us. Please pass this on to your congregations. We have no political agenda. We are taking this opportunity for the interfaith community in San Antonio to ask the God of Creation to send His blessings on our land. 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Thank you,
Jeanne Goodlin
Executive Director

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Still more photos from the SAAHJ Gala @ the Hyatt, 7-29

L-R: Mistress of Ceremonies & KENS-5 Anchorwoman Sarah Lucero, KSAT-12 Reporter Jesse Degollado, KENS-5 Reporter Natalie Tejeda, former KSAT-12 Reporter Gina Galaviz, Jim Eskin & wife, former Judge Al Alonzo, former SA Express-News Columnist & Mayor Julian Castro staffer Jaime Castillo, former News-4 WOAI Meteorologist MacClovio Perez & son, Fox news-29 Reporter Sylvia Rincon, Barbi Scharf-Zeldes, Ron Aaron, Lani Esparza, Dr. Lorraine Pulido, Martha Tijerina, Father Eddie Bernal, Jim Eskin with Benevolence Works CEO Linda Hartman, Alice Guerra & son, Mark Trevino, former Councilman & ACCD Board member Joe Alderete with wife, Chris, former KTSA 550 Jack Riccardi Show Producer Genina Hernandez, KSAT-12 Anchorman Charles Gonzalez, KSAT-12 Anchorwoman Isis Romero, Alice Guerra with Congressional candidate State Rep. Joaquin Castro & Tax Assessor Collector Sylvia Romo, former Councilman & Greater Chamber CEO Richard Perez with friend, Foxs news 29 Anchorman Ernie Zuniga with wife, Tami, Fox News 29 Reporter Sylvia Rincon & Diana Arrevelo, SA Express news Columnist Scott Stroud & wife, Grand Hyatt

Still more photos from the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists (SAAHJ) 13th Annual Scholarship & Awards Gala @ the Grand Hyatt, July 29th.

Friday, July 29, 2011

More SA Assoc. of Hispanic Journalists photos, 7-29

L-R: San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalist President Elaine Ayala, honoree Jesus Rangel & Mistress of Ceremonies & KENS-5 Anchorwoman Sarah Lucero, Martha Tijerina, Kris Rodriguez, James Benevides, Firefighter's Legislative Director Nathan Alonzo, former News-4 WOAI Meteorologist MacClovio Perez, Tax Assesor/Collector Sylvia Romo with Dan Naranjo, Anna Flores & boyfriend Congressional candidate State Rep. Joaquin Castro, Benevolence Works CEO Linda Hartman & Verna Blackwell Hilario, San Antonio Express-News Reporter & President of SAAHJ Elaine Ayala, KTSA 550 Reporter Elizabeth Ruiz, KROV 97.1 HD Talk Show Host Tommy Calvert, CNP-News Editor Joe Sandoval, Business Journal Writer Andi Rodriguez, KENS-5 Reporters Natalie Tejeda & Marvin Hurst, San Antonio Express-News Columnists Scott Stroud, Ricardo Pimentel, & Victor Landa, Fox News-29 Reporters Christine Coleman, Sylvia Rincon & Ernie Zuniga, KENS-5 Anchorwoman Sarah Lucero & KSAT-12 Anchorwoman Isis Romero, KSAT-12 Reporter Jesse Degollado with Walker Report Publisher/Editor & Judge Steve Walker

More San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists (SAAHJ) Gala photos from the Grand Hyatt.