House Pub Ed hearing includes discussion of threat assessment… | TCTA
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House Pub Ed hearing includes discussion of threat assessment teams

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The House Public Education Committee considered several bills in its Tuesday hearing. One bill generated a lengthy discussion between committee members and witnesses about the role of threat assessment teams (created in the 2019 legislative session). HB 759 by Rep. Sam Harless would create a student threat assessment database for students who are determined by a threat assessment team to be a serious risk to themselves or others. Access to the database must be provided to a peace officer or resource officer assigned to the student's school and to the principal and superintendent (or their designee) at each school that the student has attended or currently attends. The information is confidential and cannot be used for an unrelated purpose.

As the teams are a new concept, it has been difficult for some to delineate between the risk assessment and student support role that the teams are intended to provide, and student discipline. There is also concern that creating a database that can be shared between districts could unfairly label a student or create discriminatory practices. A witness with experience working with threat assessment teams explained that the value of the bill would be the ability to ensure that a student moving between districts could continue to access any supports that the threat assessment team had identified and implemented.

Other bills heard today were:

  • HB 129 by Rep. Mary Gonzalez (creating a digital citizenship curriculum)
  • HB 159 by Gonzalez (relating to educator preparation programs and training regarding students with disabilities)
  • HB 353 by Chair Harold Dutton (adding to the indicators of student achievement specific disaggregation of racial and ethnic groups both as a whole and by sex) – TCTA supported
  • HB 445 by Rep. Steve Allison (adding the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion into positive character traits instruction) – TCTA supported
  • HB 725 by Rep. Jared Patterson (adding students who were in foster care in a different state and now reside in Texas to those who are eligible for prekindergarten) – TCTA supported
  • HB 785 by Rep. Alma Allen (requiring the annual review of a student’s behavioral improvement plan)
  • HB 1080 by Rep. Jared Patterson (prohibiting UIL from excluding students who receive outpatient mental health services from UIL activities) – TCTA supported
  • HB 1114 by Rep. Shawn Thierry (adding mental health services to the list of services that can be provided by a school-based health center) – TCTA supported
  • HB 1603 by Rep. Dan Huberty (removing the expiration date for the individual graduation committees) – TCTA supported