A father from Hutto is searching for his missing daughter, 17, and facing hundreds of dollars a day in fines from the court because she is missing school.
Michael Moreno said he has not seen his daughter since Dec. 3, when school officials at Hutto High School told him she left school during her seventh-period class. She has not been back home or back to school since that day.
"For her not to get off at the bus stop, within 15 minutes I knew something was wrong," said Michael Moreno. "It's kind of hard, you know, she's our little daughter."
But Moreno also knew his daughter had been skipping school. There was a warrant out for her arrest on truancy charges. And even though he believes she ran away on her own, he put up "Missing" flyers all over town.
"It's just hard with the truancy, you know, as far as kids going to school, they think it's a joke, you know -- it's not a joke," said Moreno.
Last week, a truancy court judge in Williamson County told Moreno he would have to pay $500 each day for every day his daughter was not in school.
"I don't think it's fair, but that's the law, you know," said Moreno.
Hutto High School principal Brandy Baker supports holding parents accountable for their students' unexcused absences from school.
"If the courts have determined that's the most appropriate accountability measure is fining them, then I would support it and do support it," said Baker.
She said the school has several methods of supporting school attendance.
"We're not going to give up and they'll continue to get phone calls and letters and e-mails and we'll knock on their door because we really want those students to be here," said Baker.
Ninety-six percent of the students at Hutto High School attend class regularly.
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