Our conference Q&A session was a big hit, but not all of the questions could be answered. Let’s take a look at a few. . .
Q: Senate Bill 507 requires school districts to place closed-circuit cameras in certain classrooms which service this student population upon the request of a parent or staff member. The bill does not go into effect until 2016-2017. Can we implement this new policy now?
A: No. Current law prohibits video or audio recording of students without parent consent. Specifically, under Texas Education Code § 26.009, “Consent Required For Certain Activities,” states that “An employee of a school district must obtain the written consent of a child’s parent before the employee may . . . (2) make or authorize the making of a videotape of a child or record or authorize the recording of a child’s voice.” Thus, while some districts may want to be proactive in complying with new state laws, this law is one that will have to wait until its effective date before implementation.
Q: What are the new rules related to translation for parents who do not speak English?
A: Effective January 1, 2015, Chapter 19 of the Texas Administrative Code § 89.1050(h) states: “If the student’s parent is unable to speak English and the parent’s native language is Spanish, the school district must provide a written copy or audio recording of the student IEP translated into Spanish. If the student’s parent is unable to speak English and the parent’s native language is a language other than Spanish, the school district must make a good faith effort to provide a written copy or audio recording of the student’s IEP translated into the parent’s native language.” Significant here is the provision that the IEP is translated, rather than requiring the entire ARD meeting to be translated. Further, in the case of those who speak another language other than English or Spanish, the district is required to make a “good faith effort” at translation of the IEP.