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.

Warning: Do not read this article if you like having the rug pulled out from under your feet. I’ll wait. . . . This article is based on language found in the current standard contract published by the American Institute of Architects for Construction Management at Risk Projects. It is often referred to as the “A133” 2019 edition. ALWAYS consult your attorney before signing one. NEVER make assumptions about whether your contract has been modified or not. Construction contracts are A BIG DEAL – maybe the BIGGEST DEAL you will do in your ENTIRE LIFE. Also remember “standard contracts” are not free from hazards. In “standard contracts,” the hazards are simply “standard.”

You may have heard by now that the Department of Labor has released a new proposed rule that it claims will restore overtime pay to 3.6 million employees making less than $1,059 per week, which is about $55,000 per year. The current threshold is $684 per week or $35,568 per year. The DOL also proposes raising the threshold for highly compensated employees to $143,988 from $107,432. In addition to these initial hikes, the DOL is proposing future automatic increases every three years to reflect current earnings data. The comment period opened on Friday, September 8, 2023, with the official publication of the rule and continues for 60 days, or until November 7, 2023. Please consider commenting about how this proposal will impact schools.

In 2021, the Texas Education Agency adopted new Facilities Standards for projects beginning after November 1, 2021. While the bulk of these Standards impose technical requirements on the design of facilities (square footage, etc.), they also contain explicit, concrete steps that a school district must take as part of the process. This article covers three specific actions: (1) preparing a Long Range Plan, (2) adopting Educational Specifications, and (3) formally establishing a budget during the design process.

Following the violent tragedies experienced in Uvalde ISD, Santa Fe ISD, and other schools around the country, Texans have since demanded state leaders effectuate change to prevent future tragedies impacting our schools. Well… the 88th Texas Legislature provided us with several significant changes impacting school security, including panic alert systems, facilities standards, and as we will explore in this article, armed security personnel. Even if this isn’t the change we all envisioned, you need to be aware of the actions your District needs to promptly take in order to ensure your compliance with House Bill 3.

On May 27, 2023, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 567, known as “the CROWN Act”—an acronym for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair”—which amends sections 25.902 and 51.979 of the Texas Education Code, and goes into effect on September 1, 2023. The bill provides that no school district may promulgate a student dress or grooming policy—for both curricular and extracurricular activities—which discriminates against a hair texture, or “protective hairstyle” commonly or historically associated with race. A “protective hairstyle” includes “braids, locks, and twists.”

On March 21, 2023, the US Supreme Court issued a decision that has the potential to impact special education litigation and the costs associated with such cases. In Perez v. Sturgis Pub. Sch., 3 F4th 236 (6th Cir.), the Supreme Court expanded on a 2017 case, Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, regarding the ability of a student to sue a public school over educational services provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Sine die, the last day of the 88th legislative regular session, is fast approaching. Several bills that are still active could affect school district construction procedures and future school construction projects. The potential impacts of these bills and their current statuses are analyzed below.

It’s about that time for school districts across the state to consider either to adopt a District of Innovation Plan for the first time or to revisit an existing plan by considering additional or revised exemptions under the Texas Education Code. In a similar vein, we’re currently fielding an increased number of calls from clients who have now reached the end of the five-year term of their initial District of Innovation Plan and simply need to renew the plan for another term. As we inch closer to the end of the school year, this guide seeks to provide answers to your questions regarding the ins-and-outs of adoption, renewal, and amendment of DOI Plans.

This article discusses Interlocal Contracts (also known as “interlocal agreements”) and Interlocal Transfers, two mechanisms that exist to promote school district efficiency and cooperation between school districts. Hopefully, this article will provide clarity on the intricacies of each and promote their use to expedite school district compliance with statutory requirements, such as procurement under the Texas Education Code and Texas Government Code and record confidentiality under the Texas Public Information Act.

With the uptick in vaping across the nation in our youth and schools, it’s helpful to understand the current status of both state and federal laws addressing THC, CBD, and marijuana. Here is what you need to know about this evolving discipline issue, and when you’ll want to involve law enforcement if a student possesses these products at school. view article arw

Whether a district is acquiring property for immediate use or to simply hold until they are ready to use it, acquiring and owning property burdened with easements can complicate a district’s long-range planning. On the other hand, selling property that is burdened with easements raises separate, and distinct, concerns. Here are some tips on how to effectively deal with property that is burdened with easements.

By state law, school boards must promulgate policies that prohibit students from smoking, using, or possessing e-cigarettes or tobacco products at school-related or school-sanctioned activities on or off school property. Tex. Educ. Code § 38.006(b). To accomplish this mandate, numerous districts have adopted language along these lines, stating, “[s]tudents are prohibited from possessing or using any type of tobacco product, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), or any other electronic vaporizing device, while on school property at any time or while attending an off-campus school related activity. The district and its staff strictly enforce prohibitions against the use of all tobacco products, e-cigarettes, or any other electronic vaporizing device, by students and all others on school property and at school-sponsored and school-related activities.”