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LEGAL REFERENCES

United States Constitution

The School shall take no action abridging the freedom of speech or the right of the people to petition the board for redress of grievances.  U.S. Const. Amend. I, XIV  [See FNA]

A board may confine its meetings to specified subject matter and may hold nonpublic sessions to transact business.  But when a board sits in public meetings to conduct public business and hear the views of citizens, it may not discriminate between speakers on the basis of the content of their speech or the message it conveys.  Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors of Univ. of Virginia, 515 U.S. 819, 828 (1995); City of Madison v. Wis. Emp. Rel. Comm’n, 429 U.S. 167, 174 (1976); Pickering v. Bd. of Educ., 391 U.S. 563, 568 (1968)

Texas Constitution

Citizens shall have the right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances or other purposes, by petition, address, or remonstrance.  Tex. Const. Art. I, Sec. 27

There is no requirement that a board negotiate or even respond to complaints.  However, a board must stop, look, and listen and must consider the petition, address, or remonstrance.  Prof’l Ass’n of College Educators v. El Paso County Cmty. [College] Dist., 678 S.W.2d 94 (Tex. App.—El Paso 1984, writ ref’d n.r.e.)

Federal Laws

Section 504

A district that receives federal financial assistance, directly or indirectly, and that employs 15 or more persons shall adopt grievance procedures that incorporate appropriate due process standards and that provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  34 C.F.R. 104.7(b)

Americans with Disabilities Act

A district that employs 50 or more persons shall adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action that would be prohibited by the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 28, Part 35 (Americans with Disabilities Act regulations).  28 C.F.R. 35.107

Title IX

A district that receives federal financial assistance, directly or indirectly, shall adopt and publish grievance procedures providing for prompt and equitable resolution of student complaints alleging any action prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.  34 C.F.R. 106.8(b)  [See FB]

PHILOSOPHY

Parents are partners with educators, administrators, and the School's Board of Trustees in their child's education. Parents shall be encouraged to actively participate in creating and implementing educational programs for their children.

Unless otherwise provided by law, the Board, a School administrator, or an educator may not limit parental rights.

PARENT DEFINED

For purposes of Education Code Chapter 26 (Parental Rights), "parent" includes a person standing in parental relation, but does not include a person as to whom the parent-child relationship has been terminated or a person not entitled to possession of or access to a child under a court order. Except as provided by federal law, all rights of a parent under Education Code Title 2 and all educational rights under Family Code 151.003(a)(10) shall be exercised by a student who is 18 years of age or older or whose disabilities of minority have been removed for general purposes under Family Code Chapter 31 unless the student has been determined to be incompetent or the student's rights have been otherwise restricted by a court order.  Education Code 26.002

PARENTAL RIGHTS LISTED IN EDUCATION CODE CHAPTER 26

  1. Rights concerning academic programs.  Education Code 26.003  [See EHA, EIF, FDB, and FMH]
  2. Access to student records.  Education Code 26.004  [See FL]
  3. Access to state assessments.  Education Code 26.005  [See EKB]
  4. Access to teaching materials.  Education Code 26.006  [See EF and EKB]
  5. Access to board meetings, other than a closed meeting under the Open Meetings Act.  Education Code 26.007  [See BE and BEC]
  6. Right to full information concerning a student.  Education Code 26.008  [See DF, FFE, and FM]
  7. Right to information concerning special education and education of students with learning disabilities.  Education Code 26.0081  [See FB]
  8. Requests for public information.  Education Code 26.0085  [See GBA]
  9. Consent required for certain activities.  Education Code 26.009  [See EHA, FFE, FL, FM, and FO]
  10. Refusal of psychiatric or psychological treatment of child as basis for report of neglect.  Education Code 26.0091  [See FFG]
  11. Exemption from instruction.  Education Code 26.010  [See EMB]
  12. Education Code 26.001(a)(c)

COMPLAINT PROCEDURES

The Board establishes the following procedures to consider complaints that a parent's right has been denied and as a grievance procedure under which the Board shall address each complaint that the Board receives concerning a violation of Education Code Chapter 26 (Parental Rights).

Education Code, 26.001(d), 26.011

The purpose of these procedures is to secure at the lowest possible administrative level, prompt and equitable resolution of student or parent complaints. Except as provided below, all student or parent complaints shall be presented in accordance with this policy.

CERTAIN COMPLAINTS

Complaints regarding certain topics are addressed by specific policies that modify this complaint process or require an alternative process:

  1. Discrimination on the basis of gender: FB
  2. Sexual abuse or sexual harassment of a student: FNCJ
  3. Loss of credit on the basis of attendance: FDD
  4. Teacher removal of a student for disciplinary reasons: FOAA
  5. Removal of a student to a disciplinary alternative education program: FOAB
  6. Expulsion of a student: FOD
  7. Identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a student with a disability within the scope of Section 504: FB
  8. Identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a student with a disability within the scope of IDEA:  EHBA and the parent's rights handbook provided to parents of all students enrolled in the School's regular school year program
  9. Instructional materials: EFA
  10. On-campus distribution of nonschool materials to students: FMA

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Unless otherwise provided by a policy referenced above, students or parents shall be entitled to informal conferences with administrators to resolve their complaints. If such attempts are unsuccessful, the students or parents may take their complaint to the Board. If a complaint involves a problem with a teacher, the student or parent in most circumstances shall be expected to discuss the matter with the teacher before requesting a conference with the Principal or Program Director at Level One.

The student may be represented by an adult at any level of the complaint.

Days

The definition of "day" means calendar day unless otherwise defined in law or Board policy.

In computing any period of time prescribed or allowed by this policy, the day of the aggrieved act, event, or default after which the designated period of time begins to run is not to be included.  The last day of the period is to be included, unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, in which event the period runs until the end of the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.  Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays shall not be counted for any purpose in any time period of five days or less in this policy (or applicable law).  The day on which a complaint is filed is not to be counted in calculating the designated period of time.  If a complaint is received by mail, the date of the filing is the date of the postmark. 

Texas Rules of Court, Part I, Rule 4

Any extension to the stated timelines in this policy shall be considered by the Superintendent on a case by case basis.

LEVEL ONE

A student or parent who has a complaint shall request a conference with the Principal or Program Director within ten days of the time the student or parent knew, or should have known, of the event or series of events causing the complaint. The Principal or Program Director shall schedule and hold a conference with the student or parent within ten days of the request. If the complaint is one of sexual harassment or Section 504 discrimination, the Principal or Program Director shall include the School's Title IX or 504 Coordinator respectively, in the conference.  The Principal or Program Director shall provide the student or parent a written response within ten days from the date of the conference.

LEVEL TWO

If the outcome of the conference with the Principal or Program Director is not to the student's or parent's satisfaction, the student or parent may request, within ten days, a conference with the Superintendent or designee, who shall schedule and hold a conference within ten days from receiving the request. Prior to or

at the time of the conference, the student or parent shall submit a written complaint that includes a statement of the complaint, any evidence in its support, the solution sought, the student's or parent's

signature, and the date of the conference with the Principal or Program Director.  The Superintendent shall provide a written response to the student or parent within ten days from the date of the conference.

LEVEL THREE

If the outcome of the conference with the Superintendent or designee is not to the student's or parent's satisfaction, the student or parent may submit within 30 days to the Superintendent a written request to place the matter on the agenda of the next regular Board meeting.

The Superintendent shall inform the student or parent of the date, time, and place of the meeting. The presiding officer shall establish a reasonable time limit for complaint presentations.

The Board shall hear the complaint and take whatever action it deems appropriate. The lack of official action by the Board shall uphold the administrative decision at Level Two.  The Board President shall provide a written response stating the decision of the Board within ten days from the date of the hearing before the Board.

Closed Meeting

A board may conduct a closed meeting on a parent or student complaint to the extent required or provided by law.  Gov't Code Ch. 551, Subch. D [see BEC]

If the complaint involves concerns or charges regarding an employee, it shall be heard by the Board in closed meeting unless the employee to whom the complaint pertains requests that it be public.

Appeal to the Commissioner and Record of Proceeding

A decision of the Board may be appealed to the Commissioner of Education if the student is aggrieved by an action or decision of the Board that violates the school laws of the State.  An appeal of a Board’s decision shall be based on a review of the record developed at the Board level. "Record" includes, at a minimum, an audible electronic recording or written transcript of all oral testimony or argument.  Education Code 7.057(c), (f)

It is the School’s responsibility to make and preserve the records of the proceedings before the board.  If the School fails to create and preserve the record without good cause, all substantial evidence issues that require missing portions of the record for resolution shall be deemed against the School.  The record shall include:

  1. A tape recording or a transcript of the hearing at the local level.  If a tape recording is used:
    1. The tape recording must be complete, audible, and clear; and
    2. Each speaker must be clearly identified.
  2. All evidence admitted;
  3. All offers of proof
  4. All written pleadings, motions, and intermediate rulings;
  5. A description of matters officially noticed;
  6. If applicable, the decision of the hearing examiner;
  7. A tape recording or transcript of the oral argument before the board; and
  8. The decision of the board.

19 TAC 157.1073(d)

Disruption

It is a criminal offense for a person, with intent to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, to substantially obstruct or interfere with the ordinary conduct of a meeting by physical action or verbal utterance and thereby curtail the exercise of others’ First Amendment rights.  Penal Code 42.05; Morehead v. State, 807 S.W. 2d 577 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991)

ACADEMIC PROGRAMS

A parent is entitled to:

  1. Request, with the expectation that the request will not be unreasonably denied:
    1. *The addition of a specific academic class in the course of study of the parent's child in keeping with the required curriculum if sufficient interest is shown in the addition of the class to make it economically practical to offer the class. (See EH)
    2. *That the parent's child be permitted to attend a class for credit above the child's grade level, whether in the child's school or another school, unless the Board or its designated representative expects that the child cannot perform satisfactorily in the class. The decision of the Board concerning such a request is final and may not be appealed. (See EH)
    3. *That the parent's child be permitted to graduate from high school earlier than the child would normally graduate, if the child completes each course required for graduation. (See EIED)
    4. Have a child who graduates early participate in graduation ceremonies at the time the child graduates. (See EMC)

*The decision of the Board concerning these requests is final and may not be appealed.

Education Code 26.003(a)(3)(4), (b)

STUDENT RECORDS AND INFORMATION

A parent is entitled to full information regarding the school activities of a parent's child except as provided by state child abuse laws. A parent is entitled to access to all written records of the School concerning the parent's child, including:

  1. Attendance records.
  2. Test scores.
  3. Grades.
  4. Disciplinary records.
  5. Counseling records.
  6. Psychological records.
  7. Applications for admission.
  8. Health and immunization information.
  9. Teacher and counselor evaluations.
  10. Reports of behavioral patterns.

Education Code 26.004, 26.008(a) (See FL, FM)

CHALLENGE TO EDUCATION RECORDS

The School shall give a parent or eligible student, on request, an opportunity for a hearing to challenge the content of the student’s education records on the grounds that the information contained in the records is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the privacy rights of the student.  34 C.F.R. 99.21  [See FL]

OBJECTION TO SCHOOL ASSIGNMENT

The parent or person standing in parental relation to any student may object to the student’s school assignment.  Upon receiving a written petition to request or object to a student’s assignment, the parent should confer with the student’s teacher.  If the outcome is not satisfactory, the parent shall present a written complaint according to the procedure described above in this policy.  If the complaint reaches the board for resolution, the board shall follow the procedures set forth at Education Code 25.034.  Education Code 25.033(2), .034  [See FDB]

DENIAL OF CLASS CREDIT OR FINAL GRADE

If a student is denied credit or a final grade for a class by an attendance committee, the student may appeal the decision to the board.  Education Code 25.092(d)  [See FEC]

COMPLAINTS AGAINST PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES

A person may not file suit against a professional employee of the School unless the person has exhausted the School’s remedies for resolving the complaint.  Education Code 22.0514

“Professional employee includes:

  1. A superintendent, principal, teacher, including a substitute teacher, supervisor, social worker, therapist, school counselor, nurse, and teacher’s aide employed by a district;
  2. A teacher employed by a company that contracts with a district to provide the teacher’s services to the School;
  3. A student in an education preparation program participating in a field experience or internship;
  4. A DPS-certified school bus driver;
  5. A member of the board; and
  6. Any other person whose employment by the School requires certification and the exercise of discretion.

Education Code 22.051(a)

FINALITY OF GRADES

An examination or course grade issued by a classroom teacher is final and may not be changed unless the grade is arbitrary, erroneous, or not consistent with the School’s grading policy applicable to the grade, as determined by the board.

A board’s determination is not subject to appeal.  This provision does not prohibit an appeal related to a student’s eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities under Education Code 33.081.  [See FM]  Education Code 28.0214

REQUESTS FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION

When the School receives a request from a parent for public information relating to the parent’s child, the School shall comply with Government Code Chapter 552 (Public Information Act).  The School shall also comply with the deadlines and provisions set forth at Education Code 26.0085.  Gov’t Code Ch. 552; Education Code 26.0085

FEES

TEA or the School may charge a reasonable fee in accordance with the public information laws, for copies of materials described above provided to a parent.

Education Code 26.012 (See GBA)

If the parent's request is for the educational records of their child, the procedure and applicable laws can be found in TSBVI Board Policy FL.

ASSESSMENTS

A parent is entitled to access to a copy of each state assessment instrument administered to the parent's child, but a parent is not entitled to access to copies of questions that are being field-tested by TEA and were not used to compute a student's score.  Education Code 26.005 (See EKB)

TEACHING MATERIALS

A parent is entitled to:

  1. Review all teaching materials, textbooks, and other teaching aids used in the classroom of the parent's child.
  2. Review each test administered to the parent's child after the test is administered.

The School shall make teaching materials and tests readily available for review by parents and may specify reasonable hours for review. (See EF)

A parent is entitled to request that the School allow the student to take to the student’s School residence or the student’s home, if the student goes home during the school year, any textbook used by the student. Subject to the availability of a textbook, the School shall honor the request. A student who takes home a textbook must return the textbook to school at the beginning of the next school day if requested to do so by the student's teacher.

Education Code 26.006

PARENT-TEACHER ORGANIZATION

If a group of teachers and parents organize a bona fide Parent-Teacher Organization, the Board shall cooperate in the establishment of ongoing operations of at least one parent-teacher organization at the School to promote parental involvement in school activities. Education Code 26.001(e) (See GE)

BOARD MEETINGS

A parent is entitled to complete access to any meeting of the Board, other than a closed meeting held in compliance with the Open Meetings Act.

The Board must hold each public meeting in compliance with the Open Meetings Act. (See BE)

Education Code 26.007

LIMITATIONS ON SCHOOL EMPLOYEES

An attempt by any School employee to encourage or coerce a child to withhold information from the child's parent is grounds for discharge or suspension without pay.  Education Code 26.008(b) (See DF)

PARENTAL CONSENT

A School employee must obtain the written consent of a child's parent before the employee may:

  1. Conduct a psychological examination, test, or treatment, unless the examination, test, or treatment is required by state child abuse laws. (See FFE)
  2. Make or authorize the making of a videotape of a child or record or authorize the recording of a child's voice. (See EHA, FM)

CONSENT NOT REQUIRED

A School employee is not required to obtain the consent of a child's parent before the employee makes a videotape or authorizes the recording of a child's voice if the videotape or voice recording is to be used only for:

  1. Purposes of safety, including the maintenance of order and discipline in common areas of the school or on school buses. (See FO)
  2. A purpose related to a cocurricular or extracurricular activity. (See FM)
  3. A purpose related to a regular classroom instruction. (See EHA)
  4. Media coverage of the school.

Education Code 26.009

EXEMPTION FROM INSTRUCTION

A parent is entitled to remove the parent's child temporarily from a class or other school activity that conflicts with the parent's religious or moral beliefs if the parent presents or delivers to the teacher of the parent's child a written statement authorizing the removal of the child from the class or other school activity. A parent is not entitled to remove the parent's child from a class or other school activity to avoid a test or to prevent the child from taking a subject for an entire semester, nor is the child exempt from satisfying grade level or graduation requirements in a manner acceptable to the School and TEA.

Education Code 26.010 (See EMB)

Adopted:         10/13/78

Amended:       1/14/88, 6/1/89, 9/27/91, 9/25/92, 1/29/93, 11/18/94, 11/14/97, 5/28/03, 10/3/14, 11/21/14

Reviewed: