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Texas Education Code: Chapter 37 Overview

Instructor: Sudha Aravindan

Sudha has a Doctor of Education degree in math education and is currently working as a Information Technology Specialist.

Texas Education Code, Chapter 37 is about statutes relating to student discipline and law and order. In this lesson we will learn more about the Safe Schools chapter as it relates to Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Introduction

Jane was interviewing for a teaching position at a Texas public school and wanted to learn more about what her options were for maintaining discipline in the classroom. The principal explained to her that the school follows chapter 37 provisions and provided more detailed information about this statute. The principal also explained that this code provides statutes by which teachers can discipline students at their discretion and with the support of school administrators so as to provide a protective learning environment in the classroom.

Disruptive Students

Jane was informed by the principal that she could remove a student from a class if:

  • The student has repeatedly interfered and caused problems with the teacher's ability to communicate with the class, or the other students' ability to learn in the class
  • The student's behavior is unquestionably unruly or abusive and causes problems with the teacher's ability to communicate with the class, or the other students' ability to learn in the class

The Teacher's Options

The principal then went on to explain to Jane that as a teacher, she has options regarding the ways in which the unruly student can be removed from class:

  • She can send the student to the office so that the school administrators can apply a discipline in keeping with the code of conduct before returning to class. This is listed under subsection (a)
  • Or, she can simply remove a student from the class if there was a single very serious act committed by the student. This is listed under subsection (b)

The Principal's Options

Jane wanted to know what follows after she removes a student from the class. The principal told Jane that if she removes the student from the class according to subsection (b), then the principal has the option to place the student in another classroom, give the student an in-school suspension, or even place the student into an alternative disciplinary education program.

Removal Conference

The principal also explained to Jane that a critical component of the removal process is a conference that is scheduled by the school administrators no later than 3 days after the removal of the student from the classroom. The conference is held between the principal or the school administrator, the parent or the guardian of the student, the teacher responsible for the removal of the student, and the student. At this time the student is given oral or written reasons for the removal and an opportunity to respond. The student cannot return to the class until after the conference.

Jane was also told that, following the conference, the teacher and the principal have the opportunity to work as a team to address the misconduct and the needs of the student. A teacher also has the ability to withhold consent for the student to return to the classroom.

Another option is for the teacher to set conditions for the student's return to class including a behavior agreement with clear expectations between the student and the parent or guardian.

However, the principal cautioned Jane that a teacher cannot discuss or recommend a medication or diagnose a student. If necessary, a nurse can be present at the removal conference to discuss medication and diagnosis options. Also if there are behavioral problems, a counselor may be present at the conference to discuss strategies for behavior management.

Removal and School Activities

Jane then wanted to know what other consequences the student would face as a result of the removal. She was told that the terms of the removal could prevent the student from attending any school activities including field trips, social events and extra-curricular activities. However, each school district is free to determine the effect of removal on school activities.

Placement Review Committee

Jane then asked about what follows the removal conference. The principal explained that following the conference, the principal will not be able to return the student to the teacher's class without the consent of the teacher. The only exception would be if the committee determined that placing the student back in the same class with the teacher is the only option or the best available alternative.

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