Do you have to pay for lost or stolen textbooks or technology items? In most cases…No!
Texas Education Code §31.104, (d) and (e) states:
(d) Each student, or the student’s parent or guardian, is responsible for each textbook not returned by the student. A student who fails to return all textbooks forfeits the right to free textbooks until each textbook previously issued but not returned is paid for by the student, parent, or guardian.
(e) The board of trustees of a school district may not require an employee of the district “who acts in good faith” to pay for a textbook, electronic text- book, or technological equipment that is
damaged, stolen, misplaced, or not returned.
A school district employee may not waive this provision by contract or any other means. (The only exception is that an employee can voluntarily assume financial responsibility for equipment under an agreement with the district to use an electronic textbook or technological equipment for personal business off of school property or out- side of a school-sponsored event.)
Further school districts are prohibited from requiring a district employee by policy, contract, or administrative directive to waive immunity from liability for textbooks or equipment or requiring a district employee “who acts in good faith to pay for or replace property belonging to a student or other person that is or was in the possession of the employee because of an act that is incident to or within the scope of the duties of the employee’s position of employment.”
To Protect Yourself
- If you sign a withdrawal form for a student without the return of a text- book, be sure that the withdrawal form indicates that the book has not been returned. Keep a copy of the withdrawal form with your textbook records so that you can account for that particular book.
- If you use class sets of books, count them before the class ends to be sure that all books have been returned and that they stay in the classroom. In addition, if you find something missing from your classroom be sure to report it missing, in writing, to the appropriate administrator as soon as possible.
- If you believe your rights have been violated, or if you have further questions about this provision, please call the Texas AFT at 1-800-222-3827.