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: A student with serious discipline issues attends school under the McKinney-Vento Act. What are the legalities for disciplinary removals?
A: The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act provides educational rights to homeless students. The U.S. Department of Education offers comprehensive guidance on the requirements under the Act, as does the Texas Education Agency. With respect to discipline, according to the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, student discipline and expulsion rules apply to students in homeless situations in the same way they apply to housed students. However, schools must be careful not to discipline for behavior related to their homelessness. For example, school attendance policies should excuse absences or tardiness caused by homelessness. The failure to provide some flexibility might create a barrier to the retention in school of students experiencing homelessness, in violation of the McKinney-Vento Act. 42 U.S.C. §§11432(g)(1)(I), (g)(7). For a comprehensive review of the rights of homeless students, see the Association’s FAQs.
The National Center On Family Homelessness recommends investigating the reasons for the disciplinary problems and finding a means of addressing those problems if they are related to the student’s homeless situation. Trauma often associated with homelessness can impact the behavior of unaccompanied homeless youth. Local liaisons can provide trauma-informed interventions to help homeless students overcome issues that create barriers to accessing education. For more information about trauma-informed care, download the National Center on Family Homelessness’ Trauma-Informed Organizational Toolkit for Homeless Services.
Q: Expound on HB 2349 and the provision that an end of course exam is required only for courses in which enrolled.
A: House Bill 2349, in part, changes Texas Education Code § 39.025(a) so that students in a foundation high school program must be administered an end-of-course (EOC) exam only for the courses in which they are enrolled. If a district offers alternative methods for earning credit for a required high school course, then the student is not required to take an EOC.
House Bill 2349 also provides students with “performance acknowledgements” for “outstanding performance” on a valid, reliable and nationally norm-referenced preliminary college prep assessment instrument. Read the full text of House Bill 2349.
Q: Does Senate Bill 107 apply to charter schools?
A: Among other things, Senate Bill 107 creates the position of a “campus behavior coordinator.” The bill amends certain provisions found in Texas Education Code Chapter 37. With respect to charter schools, under Texas Education Code § 12.055, charter schools are exempt from laws applicable to public school districts unless a law specifically provides that it applies to charter schools. Charter schools are exempt from the disciplinary provisions found in Chapter 37 of the Education Code. Therefore, Senate Bill 107 concerning campus behavior coordinators and other changes to Chapter 37 do not apply to charter schools. Read the full text of Senate Bill 107.