ARD Committee Meeting Minutes and More:
An updated state law addresses new paperwork requirements anytime an admission, review and dismissal (ARD) committee meets.
Now a school must provide minutes from every ARD meeting that summarizes the meeting discussion, lists participants and their signatures, and includes any written statements of disagreement by a committee member regarding the student's individualized education plan (IEP) or an IEP amendment.
Also at the end of every ARD meeting, a school administrator and the parent or guardian of the student (or the student if age 18 and does not have a guardian) must each indicate or sign whether he or she agrees or disagrees with the IEP or IEP amendment.
Find out more about this new law.
Schools Must Consider Disability Before Expelling Students:
A revamped state law eases the student discipline zero tolerance policy and requires certain steps to be taken before serious disciplinary punishment like expulsion.
The legislation also requires that each school campus designates a campus behavior coordinator (CBC) responsible for maintaining student discipline and addressing issues related to removing students from class.
Before the CBC can propose the removal of a student with a disability from class for disciplinary reasons, the CBC must consider if the disability is related to the student's conduct. Also, the district's board of trustees cannot suspend or expel a student without first determining if a disability is related to the student's conduct.
Learn more about this new law.
PE for Every Student:
A new law and an adapted law require school districts to offer physical education classes for students of all physical ability levels and classes that are adapted for student with all kinds of disabilities, including mental disabilities. Accommodations must be considered for all phases of participation including locker rooms and showers.
Learn more about adaptive physical education.
Handcuffs Come Off Texas Truancy Laws:
While skipping school is definitely not cool, state legislators have decided current truancy laws go too far. Currently, Texas counts truancy as a criminal offense, meaning youth are charged in court with jail time, big fines, and black marks on their record. Students with disabilities account for 1 in 5 of these cases and are overrepresented compared to students without disabilities.
But starting September 1, 2015, a new state law will require truancy to be handled as a civil procedure in locally designated truancy courts. It also means districts must adopt truancy prevention measures including implementing behavior improvement plans for students who fail to attend class, and parents must sign off on the plans.
Additionally, if a student has a pattern of skipping school and cutting classes, a special education evaluation can be requested to see if there are causes for this behavior, such as emotional disturbance.
Current state law requires children in school ages 6-18 must attend each day that instruction is provided. This new law now changes the requirement for compulsory attendance to include children up to age 19.
Read more about this new law.