Texas: Districts cannot use ancestral language to deny transfers

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Fri Jan 19 13:08:37 UTC 2007


Board approves policy update

By By Joy E. Cressler/Staff Writer Jan 18, 2007, 13:49

BURLESON  The Burleson ISD school board approved several changes to the
districts policy manual recently, many of which may have an impact on
teachers and students.

The changes came from the Texas Association of School Boards, which
provides updates annually for school districts policy manuals.
Most of the policies in this update relate to legal changes,
Superintendent Mark Jackson said. There are a few suggested local policies
that must be amended in order to match the changes in the legal version.
Some of those changes affecting teachers, staff and students include:

- Anyone providing an adulterated, diluted or substituted urine specimen
for a drug and alcohol test is a reportable offense under the Department
of Transportation testing and has been added to the list of drug-related
policy violations.

- Rather than permitting parents to pick and choose which personal
directory information items may be released for their children, districts
can now give parents an all-or-nothing choice. Another option for
districts is to establish two separate lists of directory information  one
for school-sponsored purposes only, including yearbooks, newspapers, music
and athletic programs, and another for all other purposes.

- Districts cannot include ancestral language as a reason to deny
interdistrict nonresident transfers into the district. Factors that can be
considered in approving or denying an application to transfer include
availability of space and instructional staff, plus the students
disciplinary history and attendance record. Children of nonresident
employees are excepted from these guidelines.

- Student transfers must also include any student who shares a household
with a student being transferred to another school for special education

- As with expulsion, a district is authorized to complete disciplinary
proceedings for a student who withdraws before an order for placement in
alternative school is completed. Also, if the student returns to the
district, the consequence may be imposed at that time. Likewise, if the
student enrolls in another district, that district is authorized to impose
the consequences.

- The eligibility criteria to attend prekindergarten is expanded to
include the child of a member of the armed forces, including the reserves,
when the member is ordered to active duty, injured or killed while serving
on active duty, leaves the armed forces or is no longer on active duty
after the child begins the class.

- Referred to as Laurens Law, a new rule allows parents and grandparents
the option of providing cupcakes or other foods for a classroom
celebration or school-related event. TASB attorneys believe birthdays and
other classroom celebrations may still be held as long as they are
scheduled after lunch is over. Such events are limited to three per school

.- Each school superintendent is responsible to ensure that their districts
emergency operations plan is maintained properly and that staff are
trained for such events. In addition, the original plan each district had
to develop in accordance with the Texas School Safety Center was

- Classification of staff positions and the determination of appropriate
pay for new and reassigned employees falls under the superintendents

- The board has the option to differentiate between full- and part-time
employees when determining the districts contribution toward the employees
health insurance premiums.

Joy E. Cressler can be reached at 817-558-2855, ext. 2329, or
jcressler at burlesoncrowley.com.


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