Topic: Safe Schools Act

State policies on student discipline debated in Senate hearing

Student discipline was the third major topic on the agenda for the March 26 hearing of the state Senate Education Committee. (The first two, teacher compensation and special education, were covered in the Hotlines for March 26​ and 27​​.) Testimony from a number of groups and individuals stressed the importance of keeping students in an appropriate educational setting instead of simply putting them...

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Taking Note of Progress on Some Education Issues

While impasses engineered by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on school finance and other matters dominated the headlines, the legislative session just ended did see some little-noted progress on other issues of importance to parents and education employees. For example: Special education—SB 1398 by Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville) and Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) will scale back the use of video...

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Homework Assignment No. 1: Your Safe Schools Survey Responses Needed

Are educators at your campus using the Safe Schools Act, and are administrators adhering to the law? Is your campus discipline climate getting better or worse?Are administrators supporting teachers’ efforts to maintain discipline? Is your campus using restorative practices or positive behavior supports to improve student conduct? Texas AFT’s online survey on student discipline will let you report on what...

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Back-to-School Assignment for Teachers: Complete Our Safe Schools Survey

You can help Texas AFT prepare for the next legislative session in January by defining issues of campus safety and discipline that need to be addressed. Complete our new survey and let Texas AFT know what you think in response to questions like these: Are educators at your campus using the Safe Schools Act, and are administrators adhering to the...

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Online Bullying of Students Draws Legislative Attention

Spurred by testimony that anonymous, untraceable bullying messages and related harassment of students have caused great harm, even student suicide, the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee on August 23 served notice that new legislation against school-related cyberbullying is in the offing. Sen. Jose Menendez, a San Antonio Democrat who serves on the committee, said he would propose legislation authorizing subpoenas...

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Right to Carry Concealed Handguns Expands at Texas Universities

As of August 1, a new state law has expanded the right to carry concealed handguns in buildings on public university campuses in Texas, including within dormitories and classrooms. Private universities in Texas are still allowed to prohibit campus-carry, and reportedly all but one of them have done so. For two-year community and junior colleges, campus-carry expansion is scheduled to...

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Hazard Warning: Local “Innovation Plans” Can Nullify Employee and Student Safeguards in State Law

One of the most hazardous pieces of legislation enacted by Texas lawmakers last year bears a harmless-sounding name. We refer to the law authorizing school districts to declare themselves “districts of innovation” and thereby to exempt themselves from many important safeguards of educational quality and employee, student, and parental rights in the Texas Education Code. Some of the core state...

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Student Health Matters

AFT’s new Children’s Health, Safety and Well-Being program relies on member priorities to promote equity at the intersection of health and education. To kick off the program, AFT conducted a national survey of member and leaders in 116 locals. The resulting report, “Helpin?g Children Thrive,” shows that respondents identified three clear priorities in children’s health: mental health, access to health care,...

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Senate Panel Passes Improved Bill on Student Discipline:

SB 107 by Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston)  started out as a problematic measure to change “shall” to “may” in Safe Schools Act provisions defining the consequences for serious offenses committed by students at school. But Sen. Whitmire’s committee substitute for SB 107, passed unanimously in committee today, earned Texas AFT’s support by omitting those problematic provisions and by adding a...

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