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CPS INVESTIGATIONS AT SCHOOL

A school official may not refuse to permit a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigator to interview at school a student who is alleged to be a victim of abuse or neglect under Family Code 261.  A school official may not require the CPS investigator to permit district personnel to be present at a student interview conducted at school.  Family Code 261.302(b), .303(a); Atty. Gen. Op. DM-476 (1998)

A person that has confidential locating or identifying information regarding a family that is the subject of a CPS investigation shall release that information to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) on request.  The release of information to DFPS as required by this subsection by a person is not subject to Government Code 552.352 or any other law providing liability for the release of confidential information.  Family Code 261.303(e)

CPS INVESTIGATIONS OF SCHOOLS

On receipt of a report of alleged or suspected child abuse or neglect in a public school, DFPS shall perform an investigation as provided by Family Code 261.  Investigations of school personnel or volunteers for child abuse or neglect shall be conducted by CPS in accordance with the procedures adopted in DFPS rule.  Family Code 261.406; 40 TAC 700.401–.412

Notice to Principal

Prior to conducting an investigation of school personnel or volunteers, CPS shall notify the school principal (or the principal’s supervisor if the school principal is an alleged perpetrator) of the fact that a report has been assigned for investigation, the nature of the allegations contained in the report, and the date and time when the investigator plans to visit the school campus to begin the investigation.

The CPS investigator must request that the school principal (or the principal’s supervisor) not alert the alleged perpetrator or others regarding the report until the investigator has first had an opportunity to interview the alleged perpetrator.

40 TAC 700.407

INTERVIEWS

School officials or other persons related to the school setting may not interfere with an investigation of a report of child abuse or neglect conducted by DFPS.  Interviews and examinations in a school investigation may take place on or off the school premises, as deemed appropriate by the CPS
investigator, provided the investigator notifies the school principal (or that individual’s supervisor in the event that the principal is the alleged perpetrator) prior to conducting an interview or examination on school premises.

Participants

CPS may request that school personnel or volunteers not be present during the interview or examination of an alleged victim, an alleged perpetrator, an adult or child witness, or any other person who may have information relevant to the investigation if the investigator determines that:

  1. The presence of school personnel or volunteers would compromise the integrity of the investigation; or
  2. A better interview or examination of the child would result without school personnel or volunteers being present.

Family Code 261.303; 40 TAC 700.409(a)

Cooperation with Officials

When a representative of the Department of Family and Protective Services or another lawful authority requests to question or interview a student at school as part of a child abuse investigation, the principal shall cooperate fully with the official’s requests regarding the conditions of the interview or questioning.

OTHER QUESTIONING OF STUDENTS

When law enforcement officers or other lawful authorities request to question or interview a student at school for any purpose other than a child abuse investigation, the following guidelines shall apply:

  1. The principal shall verify and record the identity of the officer or other authority and request and explanation of the need to question or interview the student at school.
  2. The principal ordinarily shall make reasonable efforts to notify the student’s parent or other person having lawful control of the student. If the interviewer raises what the principal considers to be a valid objection to the notification, the parent shall not be notified.
  3. The principal or a designee ordinarily shall be present during the questioning or interview.  If the interviewer raises what the principal considers to be a valid objection to a third party’s presence, the interview shall be conducted without that person’s presence.

Report of Findings

After DFPS has closed the school investigation, CPS shall provide a report of the investigation to TEA, SBEC, the board president, and the school principal, unless the principal is the alleged perpetrator.

CPS need not provide a report of the investigation if a report of abuse or neglect is closed administratively prior to notification to any school official that a report was received by DFPS.

40 TAC 700.411(a), (d)

REPORTS TO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT

The Principal, or a school employee under his or her supervision who is designated by the Principal, shall notify the Austin Police Department if the Principal has reasonable grounds to believe that any of the following activities occur in school, on school property, or at a school-sponsored or school-related activity on or off school property, without regard to whether the activity is investigated by school security officers:

 

  1. Conduct that may constitute an offense listed in Government Code 508.149; deadly conduct, as described by Penal Code 22.05; or a terroristic threat, as described by Penal Code 22.07. [See GRA(EXHIBIT)]
  2. The use, sale, or possession of a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, or marijuana, as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code.
  3. The possession of any of the weapons or devices listed in Penal Code 46.01(1)-(14) or (16). [See FNCG]
  4. The possession of a weapon as defined by 18 U.S.C. Section 921, in accordance with the Gun-Free Schools Act. [See FOD]
  5. Conduct that may constitute a criminal offense under Penal Code 71.02, Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity. [See GRA(EXHIBIT)]
  6. Conduct that may constitute a criminal offense for which a student may be expelled under Education Code 37.007(a), (d), or (e).

The report shall include the name and address of each student the person believes may have participated in the activity, but is not required if the person reasonably believes that the activity does not constitute a criminal offense.

Education Code 37.015, 37.007(e)

STUDENTS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY

The School shall permit a student to be taken into custody under Family Code Title 3 (Juvenile Justice Code):

  1. Pursuant to an order of the juvenile court.
  2. Pursuant to the laws of arrest.
  3. By a law enforcement officer, inckuding a school district peace officer, if there is probable cause to believe the student has engaged in a crimminal violation, delinquent conduct, conduct in need of supervision, or conduct that violates a condition of probation.
  4. By a probation officer if there is probable cause to believe the student has violated a condition of probation or a condition of release.
  5. Pursuant to a directive to apprehend issued by a juvenile court.
  6. By a law enforcement officer, to take the child's fingerprints or photograph, as set forth at Family Code 58.021

Family Code 52.01(a), 58.021

In addition, a student may be taken into custody without a court order:

  1. By an authorized representative of Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), a law enforcement officer, or a juvenile probation officer under the conditions set out in Family Code 262.104, relating to the student's physical health or safety; or
  2. As otherwise provided by Family Code Chapter 262 (Suit by Governmental Entity to Protect Health and Safety of Child).

Family Code Chapter 262

Before a student at school is arrested or taken into custody by a law enforcement officer or other legally authorized person, the principal shall verify the official’s identity.  To the best of his or her ability, the principal shall verify the official’s authority to take custody of the student and then shall deliver over the student.

The principal shall immediately notify the Superintendent and ordinarily shall notify the parent or other person having lawful control of the student.  If the officer or other authorized person raises what the principal considers to be a valid objection to notifying the parent at that time, the principal shall not notify the parent.

[See FO for notification requirements by the campus behavior coordinator under Education Code Chapter 37].

STUDENTS IN CUSTODY

A person taking a child into custody may, if school is in session and the child is a student, bring the child to the campus to which the child is assigned if the principal, the principal’s designee or a peace officer assigned to the campus agrees to assume responsibility for the child for the remainder of the school day.  Family Code 52.02(1)(7)

Adopted: 3/27/92

Amended: 1/29/93, 11/14/97, 5/25/05, 9/29/17

Reviewed: