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School Laws in Texas That Administrators Need to Know


School Laws in Texas That Administrators Need to Know

Do you work in Texas or plan to pursue an academic career there? Below is information about two school laws in Texas that teachers and school administrators should understand. Aspiring administrators can learn more about school laws in the online Master of Science (M.S.) in Educational Administration program from Texas A&M International University (TAMIU).

Reporting Child Abuse

Teachers, certified teachers’ aides, bus drivers, school administrators and other state-certified personnel who work with children must report suspected child abuse or neglect within 48 hours of the incident.

A report should reflect the reporter’s belief that a child has been or may be abused or neglected or has died of abuse or neglect. An education professional (an individual who is licensed or certified by the state) may not delegate to or rely on another person (including a supervisor) to make the report. Failure to report is a Class B Misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Teachers should remember the following factors meant to protect those filing reports in good faith:

  • Confidentiality. The identity of an individual making a report is confidential and may be disclosed only by court order or to a law enforcement officer to conduct a criminal investigation.
  • Immunity. A person acting in good faith who reports or assists in investigating a report of alleged child abuse or neglect is immune from civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed. Immunity also applies to a person who testifies or otherwise participates in a judicial proceeding arising from a report, petition or investigation of alleged child abuse or neglect.

Grievance Awareness

A grievance can be defined as a specific complaint about an education professional’s pay, hours or work conditions. Although virtually any aspect of employment may technically qualify, only certain grievances are legally reviewable by the Commissioner of Education. According to the Texas Education Code §7.057, the only grievances that can be appealed to the Commissioner of Education must involve “a breach of the employment contract coupled with economic harm, or a violation of a state school law or regulation by the school district.”

Why a Grievance Procedure?

Teachers, school administrators and state-certified education professionals can use the established grievance procedure to settle disputes.

The grievance procedure provides the following:

  • A safe, appropriate and systematic way to settle disputes
  • A method for interpreting the agreement or board policies
  • An opportunity for individuals to share their perspectives
  • Help in establishing and maintaining member rights
  • A procedure by which the local teachers’ association can serve as a responsible advocate in support of the member
  • Management with avenues for member complaints

A Degree in Educational Administration That Addresses School Law

The curricula for many advanced educational administration programs cover school laws in Texas, including TAMIU’s online M.S. in Educational Administration program. The Public School Law course focuses on the legal foundation of public education, which impacts school personnel, students, parents and community organizations.

The following courses in TAMIU’s program complement Public School Law to prepare program graduates for careers as educational leaders:

  • School Administration
  • Organization & Evaluation of Curriculum
  • Administration of School Facilities and Finance
  • Principalship
  • Advanced Problems in Supervision
  • Administration of Special Programs
  • Data Driven Decision Making in Education
  • Practicum in School Administration I and II

Learn more about TAMIU’s online M.S. in Educational Administration program.

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