Elementary school kids queueing to get on to a school bus
The Rights Times
Back to School 2017 Edition
In This Issue:
Coming Soon: Information for Parents of Children Receiving Special Ed Services Who Were Displaced by the Hurricane
In the next few days, we will have a resource ready for you about what to do if your family has been displaced because of Hurricane Harvey and your child is receiving special education or 504 services. Check our Facebook and Twitter pages for an announcement of the release. Thank you to Texans for Special Education Reform for partnering with us to provide this critical information to parents.

Special Ed Resources for Parents

New Education Laws in Texas
This year's 85th Legislative Session in Texas brought unprecedented state and national attention to our state's students with disabilities. 

Just four months prior to the session, the  Houston Chronicle "Denied" series exposed the Texas Education Agency's (TEA's) harmful and illegal 8.5 percent cap on special education enrollment.  As a result, several critical bills passed this session. For example:

SB 160 by Senator Rodríguez eliminated the 8.5 percent cap on special education and banned future TEA leaders from adopting a similar policy. 

SB 1398 by Senator Lucio  created clear timelines that school districts must abide by after parents request a video camera in their child's special education classroom. 

SB 748 by Senator Zaffirini  reformed the transition planning process by requiring districts to focus on students' self-determination skills and to create new model notices about alternatives to guardianship.

chalkboard that says What you need to know

What Every Parent Needs to Know about RtI
Response to Intervention (RtI) is a process schools use to provide targeted instruction to students needing help. Services are provided in tiers according to a child's unique needs. 

In some school districts, administrators required students to pass through every tier of RtI before a referral for a special education evaluation could be made. This practice directly violates Department of Education guidance and should no longer be used in schools. A parent may ask for an evaluation anytime during the RtI process.

DRTx has created a new infographic resource called  Response to Intervention: What You Need to Know that provides  important details on the RtI process and your rights.  Click here to view it online or to download a copy.

Parents can use this tool to help them closely monitor their child's services and advocate for their child to receive an evaluation if they believe one is needed.  
Angel Gallegos and his mom

Client Spotlight: Graduate Receives Esteemed Award
We'd like to recognize a very special client of ours - Cadet Sgt. Angel Gallegos. Angel graduated in June from high school as one of only 10 graduates to receive the esteemed Excalibur Award for his exemplary work as an ROTC student.
DRTx first had the privilege of serving Angel and his mom when he was in elementary school. At that time he was struggling to communicate with his fellow students because of his disability. DRTx worked with his school on his IEP to ensure he received the services and communication device he needed to succeed.  DRTx also advocated for him to be able to join ROTC in high school. 

With his mother's unwavering support along the way, Angel has made tremendous strides both academically and socially throughout his school years.

Not only is Angel now an expert on his communication device, he is also a well-rounded athlete, a two-time medalist in the Special Olympics Unified Sports initiative, and has the confidence to talk to people and easily make new friends.
We were proud to serve Angel during his school days, and we can't wait to see what he'll do next. Congratulations, Angel!
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Need Help?
If you are a Texan with a disability who believes your rights have been violated, please call our Intake Line at 1.800.252.9108 or our Sign Language Video Intake Line at 1.888.362.2851. Intake hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Online Intake Available 24/7
Can't call during our regular intake hours or can't get through due to high call volume? Complete our online intake form  available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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Disability Rights Texas (previously named Advocacy Inc.) is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Its mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society. Visit for more information.