School Discipline Laws & Regulations by State & Category

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Texas

LAWS

§ 25.001. Admission.

(a) A person who, on the first day of September of any school year, is at least five years of age and under 21 years of age, or is at least 21 years of age and under 26 years of age and is admitted by a school district to complete the requirements for a high school diploma is entitled to the benefits of the available school fund for that year. Any other person enrolled in a prekindergarten class under Section 29.153 or Subchapter E-1, Chapter 29, is entitled to the benefits of the available school fund.

(b) The board of trustees of a school district or its designee shall admit into the public schools of the district free of tuition a person who is over five and younger than 21 years of age on the first day of September of the school year in which admission is sought, and may admit a person who is at least 21 years of age and under 26 years of age for the purpose of completing the requirements for a high school diploma, if:

(1) The person and either parent of the person reside in the school district;

(2) The person does not reside in the school district but a parent of the person resides in the school district and that parent is a joint managing conservator or the sole managing conservator or possessory conservator of the person;

(3) The person and the person's guardian or other person having lawful control of the person under a court order reside within the school district;

(4) The person has established a separate residence under Subsection (d);

(5) The person is homeless, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 11302, regardless of the residence of the person, of either parent of the person, or of the person's guardian or other person having lawful control of the person;

(6) The person is a foreign exchange student placed with a host family that resides in the school district by a nationally recognized foreign exchange program, unless the school district has applied for and been granted a waiver by the commissioner under Subsection (e);

(7) The person resides at a residential facility located in the district;

(8) The person resides in the school district and is 18 years of age or older or the person's disabilities of minority have been removed; or

(9) The person does not reside in the school district but the grandparent of the person:

(A) Resides in the school district; and

(B) Provides a substantial amount of after-school care for the person as determined by the board.

(b-1) A person who is 21 years of age or older and is admitted by a school district for the purpose stated in Subsection (b) is not eligible for placement in a disciplinary alternative education program or a juvenile justice alternative education program if the person engages in conduct that would require or authorize such placement for a student under the age of 21. If the student engages in conduct that would otherwise require such placement, the district shall revoke admission of the student into the public schools of the district.

(b-2) A person who is 21 years of age or older who is admitted by a school district to complete the requirements for a high school diploma and who has not attended school in the three preceding school years may not be placed with a student who is 18 years of age or younger in a classroom setting, a cafeteria, or another district-sanctioned school activity. Nothing in this subsection prevents a student described by this subsection from attending a school-sponsored event that is open to the public as a member of the public.

(c) The board of trustees of a school district or the board's designee may require evidence that a person is eligible to attend the public schools of the district at the time the board or its designee considers an application for admission of the person. The board of trustees or its designee shall establish minimum proof of residency acceptable to the district. The board of trustees or its designee may make reasonable inquiries to verify a person's eligibility for admission.

(d) For a person under the age of 18 years to establish a residence for the purpose of attending the public schools separate and apart from the person's parent, guardian, or other person having lawful control of the person under a court order, it must be established that the person's presence in the school district is not for the primary purpose of participation in extracurricular activities. The board of trustees shall determine whether an applicant for admission is a resident of the school district for purposes of attending the public schools and may adopt reasonable guidelines for making a determination as necessary to protect the best interests of students. The board of trustees is not required to admit a person under this subsection if the person:

(1) Has engaged in conduct or misbehavior within the preceding year that has resulted in:

(A) Removal to a disciplinary alternative education program; or

(B) Expulsion;

(2) Has engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct in need of supervision and is on probation or other conditional release for that conduct; or

(3) Has been convicted of a criminal offense and is on probation or other conditional release.

(e) A school district may request that the commissioner waive the requirement that the district admit a foreign exchange student who meets the conditions of Subsection (b)(6). The commissioner shall respond to a district's request not later than the 60th day after the date of receipt of the request. The commissioner shall grant the request and issue a waiver effective for a period not to exceed three years if the commissioner determines that admission of a foreign exchange student would:

(1) Create a financial or staffing hardship for the district;

(2) Diminish the district's ability to provide high quality educational services for the district's domestic students; or

(3) Require domestic students to compete with foreign exchange students for educational resources.

(f) A child placed in foster care by an agency of the state or by a political subdivision shall be permitted to attend the public schools in the district in which the foster parents reside free of any charge to the foster parents or the agency. A durational residence requirement may not be used to prohibit that child from fully participating in any activity sponsored by the school district.

(g) A student who was enrolled in a primary or secondary public school before the student entered the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services and who is placed at a residence outside the attendance area for the school or outside the school district is entitled to continue to attend the school in which the student was enrolled immediately before entering conservatorship until the student successfully completes the highest grade level offered by the school at the time of placement without payment of tuition. The student is entitled to continue to attend the school regardless of whether the student remains in the conservatorship of the department for the duration of the student's enrollment in the school.

(g-1) If a student who is in the conservatorship of the department is enrolled in a primary or secondary public school, other than the school in which the student was enrolled at the time the student was placed in the conservatorship of the department, the student is entitled to continue to attend that school without payment of tuition until the student successfully completes the highest grade level offered by the school at the time of enrollment in the school, even if the child's placement is changed to a residence outside the attendance area for that school or outside the school district. The student is entitled to continue to attend the school regardless of whether the student remains in the conservatorship of the department for the duration of the student's enrollment in the school.

(h) In addition to the penalty provided by Section 37.10, Penal Code, a person who knowingly falsifies information on a form required for enrollment of a student in a school district is liable to the district if the student is not eligible for enrollment in the district but is enrolled on the basis of the false information. The person is liable, for the period during which the ineligible student is enrolled, for the greater of:

(1) The maximum tuition fee the district may charge under Section 25.038; or

(2) The amount the district has budgeted for each student as maintenance and operating expenses.

(i) A school district may include on an enrollment form notice of the penalties provided by Section 37.10, Penal Code, and of the liability provided by Subsection (h) for falsifying information on the form.

(j) For the purposes of this subchapter, the board of trustees of a school district by policy may allow a person showing evidence of legal responsibility for a child other than an order of a court to substitute for a guardian or other person having lawful control of the child under an order of a court.

§ 25.085. Compulsory student attendance.

(a) A child who is required to attend school under this section shall attend school each school day for the entire period the program of instruction is provided.

(b) Unless specifically exempted by Section 25.086, a child who is at least six years of age, or who is younger than six years of age and has previously been enrolled in first grade, and who has not yet reached the child's 19th birthday shall attend school.

(c) On enrollment in prekindergarten or kindergarten, a child shall attend school.

(d) Unless specifically exempted by Section 25.086, a student enrolled in a school district must attend:

(1) An extended-year program for which the student is eligible that is provided by the district for students identified as likely not to be promoted to the next grade level or tutorial classes required by the district under Section 29.084;

(2) An accelerated reading instruction program to which the student is assigned under Section 28.006(g);

(3) An accelerated instruction program to which the student is assigned under Section 28.0211;

(4) A basic skills program to which the student is assigned under Section 29.086; or

(5) A summer program provided under Section 37.008(l) or Section 37.021.

(e) A person who voluntarily enrolls in school or voluntarily attends school after the person's 19th birthday shall attend school each school day for the entire period the program of instruction is offered. A school district may revoke for the remainder of the school year the enrollment of a person who has more than five absences in a semester that are not excused under Section 25.087, except a school district may not revoke the enrollment of a person under this subsection on a day on which the person is physically present at school. A person whose enrollment is revoked under this subsection may be considered an unauthorized person on school district grounds for purposes of Section 37.107.

(f) The board of trustees of a school district may adopt a policy requiring a person described by Subsection (e) who is under 21 years of age to attend school until the end of the school year. Section 65.003(a), Family Code, does not apply to a person subject to a policy adopted under this subsection. Sections 25.093 and 25.095 do not apply to the parent of a person subject to a policy adopted under this subsection.

(g) After the third unexcused absence of a person described by Subsection (e), a school district shall issue a warning letter to the person that states the person's enrollment may be revoked for the remainder of the school year if the person has more than five unexcused absences in a semester.

(h) As an alternative to revoking a person's enrollment under Subsection (e), a school district may impose a behavior improvement plan described by Section 25.0915(a-1)(1).

§ 25.0915. Truancy prevention measures.

(a) A school district shall adopt truancy prevention measures designed to:

(1) Address student conduct related to truancy in the school setting before the student engages in conduct described by Section 65.003(a), Family Code; and

(2) Minimize the need for referrals to truancy court for conduct described by Section 65.003(a), Family Code.

(a-1) As a truancy prevention measure under Subsection (a), a school district shall take one or more of the following actions:

(1) Impose:

(A) A behavior improvement plan on the student that must be signed by an employee of the school, that the school district has made a good faith effort to have signed by the student and the student's parent or guardian, and that includes:

(i) A specific description of the behavior that is required or prohibited for the student;

(ii) the period for which the plan will be effective, not to exceed 45 school days after the date the contract becomes effective; or

(iii) The penalties for additional absences, including additional disciplinary action or the referral of the student to a truancy court; or

(B) School-based community service; or

(2) Refer the student to counseling, mediation, mentoring, a teen court program, community-based services, or other in-school or out-of-school services aimed at addressing the student's truancy.

(a-2) A referral made under Subsection (a-1)(2) may include participation by the child's parent or guardian if necessary.

(a-3) A school district shall offer additional counseling to a student and may not refer the student to truancy court if the school determines that the student's truancy is the result of:

(1) Pregnancy;

(2) Being in the state foster program;

(3) Homelessness; or

(4) Being the principal income earner for the student's family.

(a-4) If a student fails to attend school without excuse on three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period but does not fail to attend school for the time described by Section 25.0951(a), the school district shall initiate truancy prevention measures under this section on the student.

(b) Each referral to truancy court for conduct described by Section 65.003(a), Family Code, must:

(1) Be accompanied by a statement from the student's school certifying that:

(A) The school applied the truancy prevention measures adopted under Subsection (a) or (a-4) to the student; and

(B) The truancy prevention measures failed to meaningfully address the student's school attendance; and

(2) Specify whether the student is eligible for or receives special education services under Subchapter A, Chapter 29.

(c) A truancy court shall dismiss a petition filed by a truant conduct prosecutor under Section 65.054, Family Code, if the court determines that the school district's referral:

(1) Does not comply with Subsection (b);

(2) Does not satisfy the elements required for truant conduct;

(3) Is not timely filed, unless the school district delayed the referral under Section 25.0951(d); or

(4) Is otherwise substantively defective.

(d) Except as provided by Subsection (e), a school district shall employ a truancy prevention facilitator or juvenile case manager to implement the truancy prevention measures required by this section and any other effective truancy prevention measures as determined by the school district or campus. At least annually, the truancy prevention facilitator shall meet to discuss effective truancy prevention measures with a case manager or other individual designated by a truancy court to provide services to students of the school district in truancy cases.

(e) Instead of employing a truancy prevention facilitator, a school district may designate an existing district employee or juvenile case manager to implement the truancy prevention measures required by this section and any other effective truancy prevention measures as determined by the school district or campus.

(f) The agency shall adopt rules:

(1) Creating minimum standards for truancy prevention measures adopted by a school district under this section; and

(2) Establishing a set of best practices for truancy prevention measures.

(g) The agency shall adopt rules to provide for sanctions for a school district found to be not in compliance with this section.

§ 25.093. Parent contributing to nonattendance.

(a) If a warning is issued as required by Section 25.095(a), the parent with criminal negligence fails to require the child to attend school as required by law, and the child has absences for the amount of time specified under Section 65.003(a), Family Code, the parent commits an offense.

(b) The attendance officer or other appropriate school official shall file a complaint against the parent in:

(1) The constitutional county court of the county in which the parent resides or in which the school is located, if the county has a population of 1.75 million or more;

(2) A justice court of any precinct in the county in which the parent resides or in which the school is located; or

(3) A municipal court of the municipality in which the parent resides or in which the school is located.

(c) An offense under Subsection (a) is a misdemeanor, punishable by fine only, in an amount not to exceed:

(1) $100 for a first offense;

(2) $200 for a second offense;

(3) $300 for a third offense;

(4) $400 for a fourth offense; or

(5) $500 for a fifth or subsequent offense.

(c-1) Each day the child remains out of school may constitute a separate offense. Two or more offenses under Subsection (a) may be consolidated and prosecuted in a single action. If the court orders deferred disposition under Article 45.051, Code of Criminal Procedure, the court may require the defendant to provide personal services to a charitable or educational institution as a condition of the deferral.

(d) A fine collected under this section shall be deposited as follows:

(1) One-half shall be deposited to the credit of the operating fund of, as applicable:

(A) The school district in which the child attends school;

(B) The open-enrollment charter school the child attends; or

(C) The juvenile justice alternative education program that the child has been ordered to attend; and

(2) One-half shall be deposited to the credit of:

(A) The general fund of the county, if the complaint is filed in the justice court or the constitutional county court; or

(B) The general fund of the municipality, if the complaint is filed in municipal court.

(e) At the trial of any person charged with violating this section, the attendance records of the child may be presented in court by any authorized employee of the school district or open-enrollment charter school, as applicable.

(f) The court in which a conviction, deferred adjudication, or deferred disposition for an offense under Subsection (a) occurs may order the defendant to attend a program for parents of students with unexcused absences that provides instruction designed to assist those parents in identifying problems that contribute to the students' unexcused absences and in developing strategies for resolving those problems if a program is available.

(g) If a parent refuses to obey a court order entered under this section, the court may punish the parent for contempt of court under Section 21.002, Government Code.

(h) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for an offense under Subsection (a) that one or more of the absences required to be proven under Subsection (a) was excused by a school official or should be excused by the court. The burden is on the defendant to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the absence has been or should be excused. A decision by the court to excuse an absence for purposes of this section does not affect the ability of the school district to determine whether to excuse the absence for another purpose.

(i) In this section, "parent" includes a person standing in parental relation.

§ 25.094. Failure to attend school.

(a) An individual commits an offense if the individual:

(1) Is 12 years of age or older and younger than 18 years of age;

(2) Is required to attend school under Section 25.085; and

(3) Fails to attend school on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year or on three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period.

(b) An offense under this section may be prosecuted in:

(1) The constitutional county court of the county in which the individual resides or in which the school is located, if the county has a population of 1.75 million or more;

(2) A justice court of any precinct in the county in which the individual resides or in which the school is located; or

(3) A municipal court in the municipality in which the individual resides or in which the school is located.

(c) On a finding by the county, justice, or municipal court that the individual has committed an offense under Subsection (a) or on a finding by a juvenile court in a county with a population of less than 100,000 that the individual has engaged in conduct that violates Subsection (a), the court may enter an order that includes one or more of the requirements listed in Article 45.054, Code of Criminal Procedure, as added by Chapter 1514, Acts of the 77th Legislature, Regular Session, 2001.

(d) If the county, justice, or municipal court believes that a child has violated an order issued under Subsection (c), the court may proceed as authorized by Article 45.050, Code of Criminal Procedure.

(d-1) Pursuant to an order of the county, justice, or municipal court based on an affidavit showing probable cause to believe that an individual has committed an offense under this section, a peace officer may take the individual into custody. A peace officer taking an individual into custody under this subsection shall:

(1) Promptly notify the individual's parent, guardian, or custodian of the officer's action and the reason for that action; and

(2) Without unnecessary delay:

(A) Release the individual to the individual's parent, guardian, or custodian or to another responsible adult, if the person promises to bring the individual to the county, justice, or municipal court as requested by the court; or

(B) Bring the individual to a county, justice, or municipal court with venue over the offense.

(e) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

(f) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that one or more of the absences required to be proven under Subsection (a) were excused by a school official or by the court or that one or more of the absences were involuntary, but only if there is an insufficient number of unexcused or voluntary absences remaining to constitute an offense under this section. The burden is on the defendant to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the absence has been excused or that the absence was involuntary. A decision by the court to excuse an absence for purposes of this section does not affect the ability of the school district to determine whether to excuse the absence for another purpose.

(g) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that one or more of the absences required to be proven under Subsection (a) was involuntary. The burden is on the defendant to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the absence was involuntary.

§ 25.095. Warning notices.

(a) A school district or open-enrollment charter school shall notify a student's parent in writing at the beginning of the school year that if the student is absent from school on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year:

(1) The student's parent is subject to prosecution under Section 25.093; and

(2) The student is subject to referral to a truancy court for truant conduct under Section 65.003(a), Family Code.

(b) A school district shall notify a student's parent if the student has been absent from school, without excuse under Section 25.087, on three days or parts of days within a four-week period. The notice must:

(1) Inform the parent that:

(A) It is the parent's duty to monitor the student's school attendance and require the student to attend school; and

(B) The student is subject to truancy prevention measures under Section 25.0915; and

(2) Request a conference between school officials and the parent to discuss the absences.

(c) The fact that a parent did not receive a notice under Subsection (a) or (b) does not create a defense under Section 25.093 or under Section 65.003(a), Family Code.

(d) In this section, "parent" includes a person standing in parental relation.

§ 25.0951. School district complaint or referral for failure to attend school.

(a) If a student fails to attend school without excuse on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year, a school district shall within 10 school days of the student's 10th absence refer the student to a truancy court for truant conduct under Section 65.003(a), Family Code.

(b) If a student fails to attend school without excuse as specified by Subsection (a), a school district may file a complaint against the student's parent in a county, justice, or municipal court for an offense under Section 25.093 if the school district provides evidence of the parent's criminal negligence. In this subsection, "parent" includes a person standing in parental relation.

(c) A court shall dismiss a complaint made by a school district under Subsection (b) that:

(1) Does not comply with this section;

(2) Does not allege the elements required for the offense;

(3) Is not timely filed, unless the school district delayed the referral under Subsection (d); or

(4) Is otherwise substantively defective.

(d) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), a school district may delay a referral of a student for truant conduct, or may choose to not refer a student for truant conduct, if the school district:

(1) Is applying truancy prevention measures to the student under Section 25.0915; and

(2) Determines that the truancy prevention measures are succeeding and it is in the best interest of the student that a referral be delayed or not be made.

§ 25.0952. Procedures applicable to school attendance-related offenses.

In a proceeding based on a complaint under Section 25.093, the court shall, except as otherwise provided by this chapter, use the procedures and exercise the powers authorized by Chapter 45, Code of Criminal Procedure.

REGULATIONS

19 TAC § 129.21. Requirements for student attendance accounting for state funding purposes.

(a) All public schools in Texas must maintain records to reflect the average daily attendance (ADA) for the allocation of Foundation School Program (FSP) funds and other funds allocated by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Superintendents, principals, and teachers are responsible to their school boards and to the state to maintain accurate, current attendance records.

(l) Before a district or charter school may count a student in attendance under this section or in attendance when the student was allowed to leave campus during any part of the school day, the local school board or governing body must adopt a policy, or delegate to the superintendent the authority to establish procedures, addressing parental consent for a student to leave campus, and the district or charter school must distribute the policy or procedures to staff and to all parents of students in the district or charter school.