Monday’s hearing of the House Select Committee on Youth Health and Safety, which lasted until after 10:30 p.m., kicked off a big week of education initiatives in the spotlight. Bills in the hearing included:
- HB 2857 by Rep. Dutton, which would revise disciplinary actions related to small amounts of prohibited substances so that the student "may but is not required to be" removed from class and placed in a DAEP.
- HB 259 by Rep. Rogers, which allows school districts in smaller counties (less that 150,000 citizens) to approve a program for school security using retired law enforcement officers and veterans.
- HB 516 by Rep. Wu, which requires that superintendents report to TEA on the number of incidents during the previous school year that included sending a student to the campus behavior coordinator or other administrator, teacher removal of a student from the classroom, restraints administered to a student, complaints filed against a student, or citations or arrests. The report of students removed from the classroom or sent to the CBC must include the name of a teacher who took such an action more than twice in a year, along with a comparison of the student to the demographics of the campus. TCTA General Counsel Lonnie Hollingsworth testified against this bill due to the likely chilling effect it would have on teacher disciplinary actions.
- HB 655 by Rep. Allison, which allows districts to place a student who engages in habitually violent behavior toward students and staff into a virtual setting, as an alternative to suspension.
- HB 459 by Rep. Hull, which addresses the use of restraint techniques on special education students. TCTA’s Lonnie Hollingsworth testified neutrally on this bill due to legal concerns about language in the bill that might inhibit a teacher’s ability to, for example, break up a fight between students. We are working with Rep. Hull to address this concern.
The committee has not yet voted on any of the bills that have been heard to date.