Texas Education Code (TEC) Chapter 37 outlines legal requirements for student discipline and the maintaining of law and order within schools, including required student discipline training for staff. Safety and security in schools is not just law enforcement’s responsibility but also the duty of all school staff—administrators, teachers, and support staff alike. Providing school staff with the necessary knowledge and tools for effective student behavior management has never been more critical than in today’s school climate. With a focus in school safety, applying the appropriate discipline management techniques for the situation can make the difference between effectively redirecting student misconduct or involuntarily escalating student behavior resulting in threatening or violent conduct that puts staff and students at risk.

The appeals court upheld an earlier ruling by an Austin federal judge to remove the 1,000-foot-long barrier the state deployed near Eagle Pass.  The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Texas on Friday to remove the floating barrier it deployed in the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass this summer, affirming a lower court’s ruling.  In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the court found that the river is navigable where the barrier was placed and that it is “an obstruction,” meaning that Texas needed to receive permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — which regulates activities in waterways and wetlands under federal law — before deploying it.  Judge Don Willett, a Trump appointee, was the dissenting vote in the ruling, arguing that the Rio Grande cannot accommodate commercial boat traffic and is therefore not navigable. view article arw

Lawsuits based on false claims about voting equipment could delay millions of dollars in cost of living increases for retired teachers expected to arrive in January. The lawsuits also threaten to hold up state property tax cuts for homeowners — arguably Republicans’ signature policy achievement this year. Voters widely approved both policies this fall. Now Texas lawmakers are scrambling to address the challenges in hopes of preventing further delays. The election contests challenging the results of the November constitutional amendment election were filed in Travis County district courts days after the November election by right-wing activists. They are based on false claims that Texas’ voting equipment is not certified and that voting machines are connected to the internet. Abbott has not certified the results of the election and won’t be able to until the lawsuits are resolved in the courts — which experts say could take weeks or months. view article arw

Tax cuts were a major legislative priority for Republican leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor cannot certify the election results until the challenges are resolved.  Lawsuits based on false claims about voting equipment could delay millions of dollars in cost of living increases for retired teachers expected to arrive in January. The lawsuits also threaten to hold up state property tax cuts for homeowners — arguably Republicans’ signature policy achievement this year.  Voters widely approved both policies this fall. Now Texas lawmakers are scrambling to address the challenges in hopes of preventing further delays. view article arw

House Bill 900 seeks to rid school libraries of inappropriate books by requiring book vendors to rate materials. A legal challenge says the law is too vague and broad.  Federal appellate judges Wednesday questioned a new Texas law requiring book sellers to rate the explicitness and relevance of sexual references in materials they sell to schools, though it was not clear if the court would allow the regulations to stand.  The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges’ inquiries centered on House Bill 900’s definitions of sexual content and community standards. They came during a hearing in a legal challenge brought by book vendors who argue the law is unconstitutionally broad and vague.  The law seeks to keep so-called sexually explicit books off library shelves in the state’s more than 1,200 school systems by calling for the creation of new library standards. It requires school library vendors to assign ratings to books and materials based on the presence of sex depictions or references. And it compels vendors to recall materials already in circulation that are now deemed sexually explicit. view article arw

Columbia University failed to protect students’ and employees’ sensitive information, leaving it vulnerable to a data breach in May 2023, according to a class action lawsuit filed Nov. 21 in New York federal court. Plaintiff Alexandra Lardis is a Columbia University alumna who says she was the victim of fraud as a result of the Columbia University data breach. She says she experienced three fraud attempts in which a criminal attempted to use her credit card without her knowledge or consent. At the time of these fraud attempts, Lardis says she had no idea that her sensitive data had been compromised in a massive data breach that reportedly affected nearly 900 colleges. view article arw

The Houston Federation of Teachers filed a grievance to Houston Independent School District regarding a bathroom policy at Sharpstown High School. The policy states that students cannot use the restroom during class. District officials said it’s up to the principals to set bathroom policies at each school. view article arw

Florida's attorney general is claiming that the state’s public school libraries are “a forum for government speech” and “not a forum for free expression,” in a chilling argument that appears to be gaining steam on the right. In May, free speech and literary nonprofit PEN America filed a lawsuit against Florida’s Escambia School District. The additional plaintiffs in the case are Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, writers of And Tango Makes Three, a picture book depicting real-life gay penguins and one of the country’s most banned books over the past two decades. The plaintiffs allege that when Escambia schools removed Richardson and Parnell’s book from shelves this year, administrators were “depriving students of access to a wide range of viewpoints” and engaging in “viewpoint discrimination,” violating the First Amendment. view article arw

U.S. District Judge Janis Jack on Monday considers whether state’s foster care agency has made progress caring for most vulnerable children or should be held in contempt for the third time in an ongoing 2011 lawsuit. view article arw

The state of Texas will no longer pursue eminent domain on the former Fairfield Lake State Park property, leaving the thousands of acres to be developed by Dallas-based Todd Interests. Todd Interests on Tuesday morning released an announcement that had been drafted by the state Parks and Wildlife Department. The statement, which comes shortly after the land was valued at hundreds of millions of dollars, outlines that Texas will drop its eminent domain proceedings for the former park land and stop its efforts to reestablish the property as a public park. Cory Chandler, spokesperson for the department, said Tuesday that the state received a signed copy of the agreement back from Todd Interests, after the firm had released the press statement. view article arw

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued Pfizer last week, claiming the pharmaceutical giant "deceived the public" by "unlawfully misrepresenting" the effectiveness of its mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and sought to silence critics. The lawsuit also blames Pfizer for not ending the pandemic after the vaccine's release in December 2020. "Contrary to Pfizer’s public statements, however, the pandemic did not end; it got worse" in 2021, the complaint reads. view article arw

After Travis County District Attorney José Garza decided on Monday to drop most of the indictments brought against police officers for their use of force during the May 2020 social justice protests, local leaders had mixed reactions to the news. Cases were dismissed against 17 of 21 officers. José Garza and Mayor Kirk Watson have both called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Austin Police Department's use-of-force tactics. You can read more about the American-Statesman's exclusive reporting here. view article arw

Less than a week after a Del Rio-based federal judge ruled against Texas in the ongoing fight over the state’s razor wire, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals paused that decision while it reviews the case. view article arw

U.S. District Judge Janis Jack on Monday considers whether state’s foster care agency has made progress caring for most vulnerable children or should be held in contempt for the third time in an ongoing 2011 lawsuit. view article arw

This summer, the high court agreed to hear Moore v. United States, a case that opens up the possibility that large swaths of the tax code, particularly as applied to trillions of dollars in business and investment income disproportionately earned by the wealthy, could be deemed unconstitutional. At a time of large and growing deficits and significant inequality in the United States, that seems … bad. So, how did we get here? Let’s begin at the beginning. view article arw

A Texas school district is standing by its decision to fire an elementary school teacher after one of her TikTok videos went viral earlier this year. Back in March, Austin ISD placed Sophia DeLoretto-Chudy, a former third grade teacher at Becker Elementary School, on administrative leave after she posted a clip on the video app describing her meeting with a former administrator. view article arw

Police say a man shot his father to death, tried to steal cars at an elementary school, carjacked two people, and led police on a chase before he was shot and killed by a Spring Branch ISD officer. The incident began with a deadly shooting at a home on Thursday morning and ended outside a business in the Spring Branch area. view article arw

A carjacking suspect who is accused of murdering his father is dead after being shot by an officer in northwest Houston Thursday morning. Spring Branch ISD police said the shooting happened in the 2800 block of Campbell Road around 7:20 a.m. SBISD police were notified about the suspect, whom KPRC 2 Investigates identified as Omar Rodarte, attempting to steal vehicles at Buffalo Creek Elementary School during the morning arrival. view article arw

Earlier this year, Sophia DeLoretto-Chudy went viral on TikTok after posting a video about her meeting with her former administrator. Austin ISD put DeLoretto-Chudy on administrative leave back in March. In April, the district sent her a letter notifying they're terminating her employment. view article arw

Experts argue other assertions made in the lawsuit filing are completely unsubstantiated, such as one claiming that vaccinated people were more likely to die from COVID-19, which Texas health data disputes.  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton accused drugmaker Pfizer of fear-mongering and lies about the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine, which the company insinuated would end the pandemic, according to a lawsuit Paxton announced Thursday.  “In a nutshell, Pfizer deceived the public,” reads the 54-page lawsuit, filed in a Lubbock state district court. view article arw

Harris County has dropped its challenge to a new Texas law that returned election administration duties to elected officials in the state’s most populous county. Senate Bill 1750, which took effect on September 1, abolished the appointed position of elections administrator in any county with a population of more than 3.5 million and transferred election administration and voter registration duties back to the county’s elected county clerk and tax assessor-collector. Only Harris County currently fits the law’s population requirement. view article arw

A newly released memo gives border patrol agents guidance on interacting with illegal aliens. As border patrol agents are swamped with mass numbers of illegal border crossers, the Biden administration is prioritizing preferred pronouns over border security. A memo obtained by the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project shows the U.S. Department of Homeland Security directing border patrol agents to comply with the preferred pronouns of illegal aliens. The memo, called the “Guide to facilitating effective communications with individuals who identify as LGBTQ+,” gives guidance to all U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees on how to interact with individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. The document adds that the terms and definitions are not universal and that “some LGBTQI+ individuals may define these terms differently and the meanings of the terms may change over time.” view article arw

School library law awaits ruling

November 3005:52 AM

Booksellers, school librarians and state officials now await the decision of three federal appeals court judges after they heard arguments Wednesday concerning a law that attempts to ban sexually explicit materials from school libraries. The judges’ decision could affect the fate of the law, which businesses have said is costly and unreasonably vague, though state leaders insist the law is meant to protect schoolchildren. The law — House Bill 900 — is meant to ban sexually explicit content from public school libraries by requiring booksellers to rate anything they sell to districts based on sexual content. Under the law, sellers wouldn’t be able to sell anything deemed sexually explicit, and districts wouldn’t be allowed to buy from vendors who don’t use these ratings. The appeals court judges could take months to make their decision. The law dictates that vendors send their ratings to the Texas Education Agency by April 1. view article arw

US agency closes Eagle Pass bridge

November 3005:33 AM

The main bridge connecting the border city of Eagle Pass with Piedras Negras has been closed to inbound vehicle traffic as federal authorities attempt to grapple with “increased levels of migrant encounters” at one of the hot spots for unlawful crossings into Texas. The latest surge, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement, is being “fueled by smugglers peddling disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals and encourage migration.” “In response to this influx in encounters, we will continue to surge all available resources to expeditiously and safely process migrants,” the unsigned statement said. “We will maximize consequences against those without a legal basis to remain in the United States. CBP will continue to prioritize our border security mission as necessary in response to this evolving situation.” view article arw

An East Texas substitute teacher, accused of having an improper relationship with a minor, is behind bars. The Smith County Sheriff's Office confirmed Davian Isaiah Hunter, 29, has been arrested for aggravated sexual assault of a child and improper relationship between an educator and a student. He was booked into the Smith County Jail on bonds totaling $500,000. view article arw

DENTON — A rural North Texas school board on Friday agreed to launch an investigation into how a transgender student temporarily lost his role in the high school musical — an administrative decision that thrust the small town into the national debate over LGBTQ+ rights. The board also stripped the school district’s superintendent of his duties overseeing the fine arts department, pending the outcome of the investigation. The Sherman school board’s decision Friday afternoon is the latest flashpoint since Max Hightower, a senior at Sherman High School, was told he would lose his role — and solo — in the musical earlier this month. The school board previously reversed that decision, directing school leadership to reinstate Hightower and other students in their original roles in “Oklahoma!” — a quintessential American musical about love and statehood. view article arw

San Antonio police and Crime Stoppers are asking for the public’s help in searching for a driver who shot at an Edgewood ISD police officer during a chase over the summer. The incident on July 18 started when an Edgewood ISD officer attempted to pull over a white Chevrolet Tahoe that was driving recklessly. view article arw

Attorney General Ken Paxton announced an investigation Monday evening into Media Matters for possible fraudulent activity in response to the media watchdog group’s report last week that prompted companies to pull advertisements from X, the site formerly known as Twitter. Earlier on Monday, X CEO Elon Musk filed a federal lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas against Media Matters, alleging the organization manipulated information it gathered to defame the social media company. Paxton said his office would investigate allegations that Media Matters — which he referred to as a “radical anti-free speech organization” — had violated Texas laws protecting consumers from fraud. view article arw

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Eight Las Vegas high school students between the ages of 13 and 17 years old were arrested on murder charges in the beating death of a schoolmate that was captured on cellphone video and widely share across social media. Jonathan Lewis Jr., 17, was hospitalized with severe head trauma and other injuries after the Nov. 1 attack and died a week later, according to police. The fight appeared to be over a pair of headphones and a vape pen, police said, and the students had agreed to walk to an alleyway around the corner from campus to fight after classes ended for the day at Rancho High School in eastern Las Vegas. view article arw

The legal battle stems from the attorney general’s unsuccessful 2020 lawsuit that leaned heavily on discredited claims of election fraud in other states. Paxton’s lawyers argue that the bar’s lawsuit is an attempt to control how he runs his office. view article arw

Officials in the nation’s third-largest county had little time to celebrate their successful election before a judge issued a ruling drudged up many of their past mistakes. The county clerk says her team will ensure a successful 2024 election.  By all accounts, Harris County pulled off a smooth local election last week under its newly reconfigured election administration. But officials didn’t have time to revel in it before a judge took them to task for the serious mistakes that marred its election one year ago. Nonetheless, Harris County officials say they believe they’re now on a path to deliver a successful 2024 presidential election under a new election chief, County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth, and are clear-eyed about the work they still have to do. view article arw

Dumas ISD will be increasing security at Dumas High School on Friday ahead of what officials say is a planned demonstration. According to a press release, the Protect Children Project contacted Dumas ISD in advance that the group “intends to peacefully and quietly demonstrate” against the district’s use of corporal punishment outside of the high school on the sidewalk before and after school. Dumas ISD officials informed parents and high school students of the demonstration. view article arw

Allegations that a northern Virginia seventh-grader was repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted at her school more than a decade ago were totally fabricated, lawyers for the school system contend in a court filing seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit she filed. The onetime student, who is now 24, stands by her claims. The allegations surfaced in 2011 and have been the subject of legal proceedings for more than a decade, including a lawsuit the onetime student first filed against the school district in 2019. They were also the basis for a 2014 settlement that Fairfax County Public Schools — the state`s largest school system — reached with the U.S. Department of Education`s Office of Civil Rights over accusations the district failed to adequately investigate the student`s complaint. In a motion filed late Wednesday in federal court in Alexandria, though, the school system`s lawyers ask that the former student`s lawsuit be dismissed as a “fraud upon the court.”  “It is now crystal clear that the entire case has been litigated on false premises,” the lawyers wrote. view article arw

The professor alleged the North Texas school violated his First Amendment rights when he advocated for the removal of Confederate statues and criticized the college’s COVID-19 plans. A jury disagreed.  A jury has rejected a former Collin College professor’s claim that the North Texas school violated his First Amendment rights by not renewing his contract after it expired at the end of the 2022 school year. History professor Michael Phillips claimed in a lawsuit filed last year that school leaders retaliated against him for speaking out against the McKinney community college's COVID-19 policies and his support to remove Confederate statues in Dallas. But a jury, located in nearby conservative Grayson County, rejected that claim Monday, stating that Phillips did not prove beyond a preponderance of evidence that the school retaliated against him. The jury also found that Collin College President Neil Matkin would have reached the same conclusion not to renew Phillips’ contract even if the professor hadn’t spoken out publicly on those issues. view article arw

BURNET — A Burnet County district judge ruled Tuesday that the Ken Paxton whistleblowers’ case can proceed in Travis County, while Paxton’s recently launched legal challenge to the revived lawsuit remains pending. The ruling by Judge Evan Stubbs could allow the whistleblowers’ attorneys to subpoena Paxton and his top aides. The ruling came a week after Stubbs temporarily halted the whistleblower lawsuit at the request of Paxton’s office. The office argued the whistleblowers were violating a tentative settlement they reached earlier this year by restarting work on it after Paxton’s acquittal in his Senate impeachment trial. view article arw