TCTA discipline bill heard in Senate Education meeting
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Senate Bill 245, a major student discipline bill initiated by TCTA in conjunction with Sen. Charles Perry, was heard in Wednesday’s Senate Education Committee meeting.
TCTA General Counsel Lonnie Hollingsworth and legislative intern Quinn McCall both served as expert witnesses on the bill. Hollingsworth, accurately described by Sen. Perry as “the guy that pretty much put [Chapter] 37 together back in its day,” detailed how the bill’s revisions to that chapter of the Education Code will help teachers more easily remove disruptive students from the classroom and help prevent the “revolving door” situation in which the student is sent straight back to the classroom, while still ensuring appropriate student due process. SB 245 will also correct a major loophole in discipline law by prohibiting districts of innovation from exempting themselves from Chapter 37 requirements. See his written testimony here.
McCall pointed out the difference that adequate laws and supportive administrative can make for teachers facing student discipline problems by highlighting some of his own experiences as a teacher in a large high school.
Other bills heard in Wednesday's meeting included:
SB 2124 by Chairman Brandon Creighton, a bill designed to enroll more middle school students in advanced math courses by automatically enrolling students who meet certain metrics in advanced courses (from which they can opt out if preferred).
SB 1072 by Sen. Bryan Hughes, which would require local school health advisory councils (SHACs) to recommend policies directing how employees can discuss “matters of human sexuality” with students and whether/how campuses can host extracurricular events related to human sexuality.
SB 1261 by Sen. Angela Paxton, which addresses issues arising from last session’s HB 4545 (supplemental instruction/tutoring). Among its provisions are an increase in the maximum group tutoring size from three students to four, and limiting the creation of an accelerated education plan to students who do not perform satisfactorily on STAAR assessments for two or more years.
SB 1474 by Sen. Paul Bettencourt, which addresses special education funding needs, but drew concerns from voucher opponents about provisions that create an education savings account (essentially a voucher) for special education services.