Texas School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Authorizations, Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), and/or Funding

Discipline Compendium

Texas School Discipline Laws & Regulations: Authorizations, Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), and/or Funding

Category: Partnerships between Schools and Law Enforcement
Subcategory: Authorizations, Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs), and/or Funding
State: Texas

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LAWS

§ 2.127. School marshals.

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a school marshal may:

(1) make arrests and exercise all authority given peace officers under this code, subject to written regulations adopted by:

(A) the board of trustees of a school district or the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school under Section 37.0811, Education Code;

(B) the governing body of a private school under Section 37.0813, Education Code; or

(C) the governing board of a public junior college under Section 51.220, Education Code; and

(2) only act as necessary to prevent or abate the commission of an offense that threatens serious bodily injury or death of students, faculty, or visitors on school premises.

§ 37.0021. Use of confinement, restraint, seclusion, and time-out.

(h) This section and any rules or procedures adopted under this section apply to a peace officer only if the peace officer:

(1) is employed or commissioned by a school district; or

(2) provides, as a school resource officer, a regular police presence on a school district campus under a memorandum of understanding between the district and a local law enforcement agency.

§ 37.081. School district peace officers, school resource officers, and security personnel.

(a) The board of trustees of any school district may employ security personnel, enter into a memorandum of understanding with a local law enforcement agency for the provision of school resource officers, and commission peace officers to carry out this subchapter. If a board of trustees authorizes a person employed as security personnel to carry a weapon, the person must be a commissioned peace officer. The jurisdiction of a peace officer, a school resource officer, or security personnel under this section shall be determined by the board of trustees and may include all territory in the boundaries of the school district and all property outside the boundaries of the district that is owned, leased, or rented by or otherwise under the control of the school district and the board of trustees that employ the peace officer or security personnel or that enter into a memorandum of understanding for the provision of a school resource officer.

(b) In a peace officer's jurisdiction, a peace officer commissioned under this section:

(1) has the powers, privileges, and immunities of peace officers;

(2) may enforce all laws, including municipal ordinances, county ordinances, and state laws;

(3) may, in accordance with Chapter 52, Family Code, or Article 45.058, Code of Criminal Procedure, take a child into custody; and

(4) may dispose of cases in accordance with Section 52.03 or 52.031, Family Code.

(c) A school district peace officer may provide assistance to another law enforcement agency. A school district may contract with a political subdivision for the jurisdiction of a school district peace officer to include all territory in the jurisdiction of the political subdivision.

(d) The board of trustees of the school district shall determine the law enforcement duties of peace officers, school resource officers, and security personnel. The duties must be included in:

(1) the district improvement plan under Section 11.252;

(2) the student code of conduct adopted under Section 37.001;

(3) any memorandum of understanding providing for a school resource officer; and

(4) any other campus or district document describing the role of peace officers, school resource officers, or security personnel in the district.

(d-1) A school district peace officer, a school resource officer, and security personnel shall perform law enforcement duties for the school district that must include protecting:

(1) the safety and welfare of any person in the jurisdiction of the peace officer, resource officer, or security personnel; and

(2) the property of the school district.

(d-2) A school district may not assign or require as duties of a school district peace officer, a school resource officer, or security personnel:

(1) routine student discipline or school administrative tasks; or

(2) contact with students unrelated to the law enforcement duties of the peace officer, resource officer, or security personnel.

(d-3) This section does not prohibit a school district peace officer, a school resource officer, or security personnel from informal contact with a student unrelated to:

(1) the assigned duties of the officer or security personnel; or

(2) an incident involving student behavior or law enforcement.

(d-4) In determining the law enforcement duties under Subsection (d), the board of trustees of the school district shall coordinate with district campus behavior coordinators and other district employees to ensure that school district peace officers, school resource officers, and security personnel are tasked only with duties related to law enforcement intervention and not tasked with behavioral or administrative duties better addressed by other district employees.

(e) The board of trustees of the district shall determine the scope of the on-duty and off-duty law enforcement activities of school district peace officers. A school district must authorize in writing any off-duty law enforcement activities performed by a school district peace officer.

(f) The chief of police of the school district police department shall be accountable to the superintendent and shall report to the superintendent. School district police officers shall be supervised by the chief of police of the school district or the chief of police's designee and shall be licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

(g) A school district police department and the law enforcement agencies with which it has overlapping jurisdiction shall enter into a memorandum of understanding that outlines reasonable communication and coordination efforts between the department and the agencies.

(h) A peace officer assigned to duty and commissioned under this section shall take and file the oath required of peace officers and shall execute and file a bond in the sum of $1,000, payable to the board of trustees, with two or more sureties, conditioned that the peace officer will fairly, impartially, and faithfully perform all the duties that may be required of the peace officer by law. The bond may be sued on in the name of any person injured until the whole amount of the bond is recovered. Any peace officer commissioned under this section must meet all minimum standards for peace officers established by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

§ 37.0811. School marshals: public schools.

(a) The board of trustees of a school district or the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school may appoint one or more school marshals for each campus.

(b) The board of trustees of a school district or the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school may select for appointment as a school marshal under this section an applicant who is an employee of the school district or open-enrollment charter school and certified as eligible for appointment under Section 1701.260, Occupations Code. The board of trustees or governing body may, but shall not be required to, reimburse the amount paid by the applicant to participate in the training program under that section.

(c) A school marshal appointed by the board of trustees of a school district or the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school may carry or possess a handgun on the physical premises of a school, but only:

(1) in the manner provided by written regulations adopted by the board of trustees or the governing body; and

(2) at a specific school as specified by the board of trustees or governing body, as applicable.

(d) Any written regulations adopted for purposes of Subsection (c) must provide that a school marshal may carry a concealed handgun as described by Subsection (c), except that if the primary duty of the school marshal involves regular, direct contact with students, the marshal may not carry a concealed handgun but may possess a handgun on the physical premises of a school in a locked and secured safe within the marshal's immediate reach when conducting the marshal's primary duty. The written regulations must also require that a handgun carried by or within access of a school marshal may be loaded only with frangible duty ammunition approved for that purpose by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

(e) A school marshal may access a handgun under this section only under circumstances that would justify the use of deadly force under Section 9.32 or 9.33, Penal Code.

(f) A school district or charter school employee's status as a school marshal becomes inactive on:

(1) expiration of the employee's school marshal license under Section 1701.260, Occupations Code;

(2) suspension or revocation of the employee's license to carry a handgun issued under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code;

(3) termination of the employee's employment with the district or charter school; or

(4) notice from the board of trustees of the district or the governing body of the charter school that the employee's services as school marshal are no longer required.

(g) The identity of a school marshal appointed under this section is confidential, except as provided by Section 1701.260(j), Occupations Code, and is not subject to a request under Chapter 552, Government Code.

(h) If a parent or guardian of a student enrolled at a school inquires in writing, the school district or open-enrollment charter school shall provide the parent or guardian written notice indicating whether any employee of the school is currently appointed a school marshal. The notice may not disclose information that is confidential under Subsection (g).

§ 37.109. School safety and security committee.

(b) The committee shall:

(5) consult with local law enforcement agencies on methods to increase law enforcement presence near district campuses.

§ 37.2121. Memoranda of understanding and mutual aid agreements.

(a) The center shall identify and inform school districts of the types of entities, including local and regional authorities, other school districts, and emergency first responders, with whom school districts should customarily make efforts to enter into memoranda of understanding or mutual aid agreements addressing issues that affect school safety and security.

(b) The center shall develop guidelines regarding memoranda of understanding and mutual aid agreements between school districts and the entities identified in accordance with Subsection (a). The guidelines:

(1) must include descriptions of the provisions that should customarily be included in each memorandum or agreement with a particular type of entity;

(2) may include sample language for those provisions; and

(3) must be consistent with the Texas Statewide Mutual Aid System established under Subchapter E-1, Chapter 418, Government Code.

(c) The center shall encourage school districts to enter into memoranda of understanding and mutual aid agreements with entities identified in accordance with Subsection (a) that comply with the guidelines developed under Subsection (b).

(d) Each school district that enters into a memorandum of understanding or mutual aid agreement addressing issues that affect school safety and security shall, at the center's request, provide the following information to the center:

(1) the name of each entity with which the school district has entered into a memorandum of understanding or mutual aid agreement;

(2) the effective date of each memorandum or agreement; and

(3) a summary of each memorandum or agreement.

(e) The center shall include information regarding the center's efforts under this section in the report required by Section 37.216.

§ 42.168. School safety allotment.

(b) Funds allocated under this section must be used to improve school safety and security, including costs associated with:

(2) providing security for the district, including:

(A) employing school district peace officers, private security officers, and school marshals; and

(B) collaborating with local law enforcement agencies, such as entering into a memorandum of understanding for the assignment of school resource officers to schools in the district.

§ 1701.601. Definition.

In this subchapter, "school resource officer" means a peace officer who is assigned by the officer's employing political subdivision to provide:

(1) a police presence at a public school;

(2) safety or drug education to students of a public school; or

(3) other similar services.

§ 1701.602. License required.

A peace officer who is a visiting school resource officer in a public school must be licensed as provided by this chapter.

§ 1701.603. Firearms accident prevention program.

(a) A peace officer who is a visiting school resource officer in a public elementary school shall at least once each school year offer to provide instruction to students in a firearms accident prevention program, as determined by the school district.

(b) A firearms accident prevention program must include the safety message, "Stop! Don't Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult.", and may include instructional materials from the National Rifle Association Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program, including animated videos and activity books.

REGULATIONS

19 TAC 89.1053. Procedures for use of restraint and time-out.

(l) Peace officers. The provisions adopted under this section apply to a peace officer only if the peace officer is employed or commissioned by the school district or provides, as a school resource officer, a regular police presence on a school district campus under a memorandum of understanding between the school district and a local law enforcement agency, except that the data reporting requirements in subsection (k) of this section apply to the use of restraint by any peace officer performing law enforcement duties on school property or during a school-sponsored or school-related activity.

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