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APPLICABILITY OF CRIMINAL LAWS

The criminal laws of Texas apply to the areas under the control and jurisdiction of the Board.  The Board and its authorized agents may act to exclude an individual from School property without reliance on the Education Code.  Simply because the government owns property does not automatically open that property to the public.  All visitors are to check in at the front reception area, show identification and wear a visitor’s badge before walking through campus.

Education Code 37.101; Salinas v. Webb Consolidated ISD, Tex. Comm’r of Education Decision No. 016-R10-10-2017 (Aug. 9, 2017); United States v. Kokinda, 497 U.S. 720 (1990)

TRESPASS

The TSBVI campus is fenced and signs posted to admit authorized persons only and exclude intruders.  A school administrator or TSBVI security officer may refuse to allow persons to enter on or may eject a person from property under the School’s control if the person refuses to leave peaceably on request and:

  1. Has no business being on the state property; or
  2. The person poses a substantial risk of harm to any person; or
  3. The person behaves in a manner that is inappropriate for a school setting and:
    1. The administrator or security officer issues a verbal warning to the person that the person’s behavior is inappropriate and may result in the person’s refusal of entry or ejection; and
    2. The person persists in that behavior.

Penal Code 30.05
Identification may be required of any person on TSBVI’s property.  Education Code 38.022

Being asked to show one’s driver’s license in order to enter a public school building, or anywhere on school property, is not an invasion of privacy.  Meadows v. Lake Travis ISD, 397 F. App’ x 1(5th Cir. 2010)

Any person ejected from TSBVI’s campus may file a grievance under Policy DGBA (employees), FNG (students and parents), or GF (public).  If a parent or guardian of a child enrolled at TSBVI is refused entry to the School’s property, TSBVI shall accommodate the parent or guardian to ensure that the parent or guardian may participate in the child’s admission, review, and dismissal committee or in the child’s team established under Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. Section 794), in accordance with federal law. 

An unauthorized person who trespasses on the grounds of TSBVI, which is state property, commits a Class C misdemeanor.  Education Code 37.107

VEHICLES ON SCHOOL PROPERTY

The Board grants the authority to the Superintendent or designee to bar or suspend a person from driving or parking a vehicle on any school property as a result of the person’s violation of any rule or regulation promulgated by the Board or set forth in Education Code Chapter 37, Subchapter D.  [See CLC]   Education Code 37.106
If the person to be suspended or barred is an employee, the Superintendent shall notify such employee in writing. 

DISRUPTION OF LAWFUL ASSEMBLY

A person commits a Class B misdemeanor if the person, alone or in concert with others, intentionally engages in disruptive activity on the School grounds.

Definition

Disruptive activity means:

  1. Obstructing or restraining the passage of persons in an exit, entrance, or hallway of any building without the authorization of the administration of the School.
  2. Seizing control of any building or portion of a building to interfere with any administrative, educational, research, or other authorized activity.
  3. Preventing or attempting to prevent by force or violence or the threat of violence any lawful assembly authorized by the school administration so that a person attempting to participate in the assembly is unable to participate due to the use of force or violence or due to a reasonable fear that force or violence is likely to occur.
  4. Disrupting by force or violence or the threat of force or violence a lawful assembly in progress.
  5. Obstructing or restraining the passage of any person at an exit or entrance to the campus or property or preventing or attempting to prevent by force or violence or by threats thereof the ingress or egress of any person to or from the property or campus without the authorization of the administration of the School.

Free Speech

These provisions shall not be construed to infringe upon any right of free speech or expression guaranteed by the constitutions of the United States or the State of Texas.  Education Code 37.123

DISRUPTION OF CLASSES

A person, other than a primary or secondary grade student enrolled in the school, commits a Class C misdemeanor if the person, on school property or on public property within 500 feet of school property, alone or in concert with others, intentionally disrupts the conduct of classes or other school activities.  It is an exception to the application of the offense that, at the time the person engaged in the prohibited conduct, the person was younger than 12 years of age.

Definitions

Disrupting the conduct of classes or other school activities includes:

  1. Emitting noise of an intensity that prevents or hinders classroom instruction.
  2. Enticing or attempting to entice a student away from a class or other school activity that the student is required to attend.
  3. Preventing or attempting to prevent a student from attending a class or other school activity that the student is required to attend.
  4. Entering a classroom without the consent of either the principal or teacher and, either through acts of misconduct and/or use of loud or profane language, disrupting class activities.

For purposes of this provision, "school property" shall include the entire TSBVI campus and any grounds or buildings used by the School for assemblies or other school-sponsored activities.

For purposes of this provision, "public property" shall include any street, highway, alley, public park, or sidewalk.
Education Code 37.124

DISRUPTION OF TRANSPORTATION

A person, other than a primary or secondary grade student, commits a Class C misdemeanor if the person intentionally disrupts, prevents, or interferes with the lawful transportation of students to and from school, or to or from activities sponsored by a school, on a vehicle owned and/or operated by TSBVI or a resident school district.  It is an exception to the application of the offense that, at the time the person engaged in the prohibited conduct, the person was younger than 12 years of age.  Education Code 37.126

TOBACCO AND E-CIGARETTES

The Board prohibits smoking or using tobacco products or the use of e-cigarettes at a school-related or school-sanctioned activity on or off school property.  Students are prohibited from possessing tobacco products or e-cigarettes at a school-related or school-sanctioned activity on or off school property. 
School personnel shall enforce these policies on school property.  Education Code 38.006  [See FNCD for the definition of e-cigarette.]

Smoking on School Premises

Smoking or the use of e-cigarettes is prohibited on the campus of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired except at the employee residence on campus and designated smoking areas at the periphery of the property.

Criminal Penalty

A person commits an offense if he or she is in possession of a burning tobacco product, smokes tobacco, or operates an e-cigarette in a facility of a public school.

Defense

It is a defense to prosecution that the School does not have prominently displayed a reasonably sized notice that smoking is prohibited by state law in such place and that an offense is punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.

Facilities for Extinguishment

The School shall be equipped with facilities for extinguishment of smoking materials.  Penal Code 48.01(a)-(c)

ALCOHOL

The Board prohibits the use or possession of alcoholic beverages at school-related or school-sanctioned activities on or off school property.  Education Code 38.007(a) [See FNCF regarding alcohol-free zones.]

Intoxicants

A person commits a Class C misdemeanor if the person possesses an intoxicating beverage for consumption, sale, or distribution while: 

  1. On the grounds or in a building of a public school; or
  2. Entering or inside any enclosure, field, or stadium where any athletic event sponsored or participated in by a public school is being held.

Education Code 37.122 [See FNCF]
This possession does not apply to the employee residence on the campus.

FIREWORKS

A person may not explode or ignite fireworks within 600 feet of any school unless the person receives authorization in writing from the Superintendent.  Occupations Code 2154.251(a)(1)

FEDERAL GUN-FREE SCHOOL ZONES ACT

It is unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.
“School zone” means in, or on the grounds of, a school; or within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of a school.

This prohibition does not apply to the possession of a firearm:

  1. On private property not part of school grounds;
  2. If the individual possessing the firearm is licensed to do so by the state and the law of the state requires that, before an individual obtains such a license, the law enforcement authorities of the state verify that the individual is qualified under law to receive the license;
  3. That is not loaded and in a locked container; or a locked fire-arms rack that is on a motor vehicle;
  4. By an individual for use in a program approved by a school in the school zone;
  5. By an individual in accordance with a contract entered into between a school in the school zone and the individual or an employer of the individual;
  6. By a law enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity; or
  7. That is unloaded and is possessed by an individual while traversing school premises for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting, if the entry on school premises is authorized by school authorities.

It is unlawful for any person, knowingly or with reckless disregard for the safety of another, to discharge or attempt to discharge a firearm at a place that the person knows is a school zone.

This prohibition does not apply to the discharge of a firearm:

  1. On private property not part of school grounds;
  2. As part of a program approved by a school in the school zone, by an individual who is participating in the program;
  3. By an individual in accordance with a contract entered into between a school in a school zone and the individual or an employer of the individual; or
  4. By a law enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity.

18 U.S.C. 921(a)(25); .922(q)

FIREARMS/WEAPON possession

A person commits a third degree felony if the person knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly possesses or goes with a firearm, location-restricted knife, club, or prohibited weapon [see FNCG]:

  1. Onto the physical premises (a building or portion of a building) of a school;
  2. Onto any grounds or into a building in which an activity sponsored by a school is being conducted; or
  3. On a passenger transportation vehicle of a school.

This offense does not apply if the person is acting pursuant to written regulations or written authorization of a district.

It is not a defense to prosecution that the person possessed a handgun and was licensed to carry a handgun.

A person commits a third degree felony if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly possesses or goes with a location-restricted knife on the premises where a high school sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place, unless the person is a participant in the event and a location-restricted knife is used in the event. [See FNCG]  Penal Code 46.03(a)(1)

PREMISES DEFINED

“Premises,” for purposes of this policy, means a building or a portion of a building.  The term does not include any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area.  Penal Code 46.035(f)(3)

EXCEPTED PERSONS

Penal Code 46.03(a)(1) does not apply to:

  1. Peace officers or special investigators regardless of whether engaged in the actual discharge of the officer’s or investigator’s duties;
  2. Parole officers while engaged in the actual discharge of the officer’s duties;
  3. Community supervision and corrections department officers while engaged in the actual discharge of the officer’s duties;
  4. An active judicial officer who is licensed to carry a handgun;
  5. An honorably retired peace officer, qualified retired law enforcement officer, federal criminal investigator, or former reserve law enforcement officer who holds a certificate of proficiency and is carrying a photo identification verifying that the officer or investigator qualifies for this exception;
  6. The attorney general or a United States attorney, district attorney, criminal district attorney, county attorney, or municipal attorney who is licensed to carry a handgun;
  7. An assistant United States attorney, assistant attorney general, assistant district attorney, assistant criminal district attorney, or assistant county attorney who is licensed to carry a handgun;
  8. A bailiff designated by an active judicial officer who is licensed to carry a handgun and engaged in escorting the judicial officer; or
  9. A juvenile probation officer who is authorized to carry a firearm.

Penal Code 46.15(a)

A person commits a third degree felony if, in a manner intended to cause alarm or personal injury to another person or to damage school property, the person intentionally exhibits, uses, or threatens to exhibit or use a firearm:

  1. In or on any property, including a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area, that is owned by a private or public school; or
  2. On a school bus being used to transport children to and from school-sponsored activities.

Education Code 37.125

Transportation or Storage of Firearm in School Parking Area

The School may not prohibit a person who holds a license to carry a handgun under Government Code, Chapter 411, Subchapter H, from transporting or storing a handgun or other firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned or leased motor vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area provided by TSBVI, provided that the handgun, firearm, or ammunition is not in plain view.

This does not authorize a person to possess, transport, or store a handgun, a firearm, or ammunition in violation of Education Code 37.125 or Penal Code 46.03 or 46.035, or other law.
Education Code 37.0815

Volunteer Emergency Services Personnel

TSBVI is not liable in a civil action arising from the discharge of a handgun by an individual who is volunteer emergency services personnel and licensed to carry the handgun under Government Code, Chapter 411, Subchapter H.

The discharge of a handgun by an individual who is volunteer emergency services personnel and licensed to carry the handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, is outside the course and scope of the individual’s duties as volunteer emergency services personnel.

TSBVI does not waive immunity from suit or liability under the Texas Tort Claims Act or any other law.

“Volunteer emergency service personnel” includes a volunteer firefighter, an emergency medical services volunteer as defined by Health and Safety Code 773.003, and any individual who, as a volunteer, provides services for the benefit of the general public during emergency situations.  The term does not include a peace officer or reserve law enforcement officer, as those terms are defined by Occupation Code 1701.001, who is performing law enforcement duties.
Civil Practice & Remedies Code 112.001; Penal Code 46.01(18)

EXHIBITION OF FIREARM

A person commits a third degree felony if, in a manner intended to cause alarm or personal injury to another person or to damage school property, the person intentionally e:

  1. Exhibits or uses a firearm:
    1. In or on any property, including a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area, that is owned by a private or public school; or
    2. On a school bus being used to transport children to and from school-sponsored activities.
  2. Threatens to exhibit or use a firearm in or on property described above or on a bus and was in possession of or did not have immediate access to the firearm.

Education Code 37.125

TRESPASS - CONCEALED CARRY OF HANDGUN

A license holder commits an offense if the license holder

  1. Carries a handgun on the property of another without effective consent; and
  2. Received notice that entry on the property by a license holder with a concealed handgun was forbidden.

An offense under Penal Cade 30.06 is a Class C misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if, after entering the property, the license holder was personally given the notice that entry or remaining on the property with a concealed handgun was forbidden and failed to depart.

Notice/Sign – Concealed Carry of Handgun

For purposes of Penal Code 30.06, a person receives notice if the owner of the property or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner provides notice to the person by oral or written communication.

“Written communication” means:

  1. A card or other document on which is written language identical to the following:  “Pursuant to Section 30.06, Penal Code (trespass by holder of license to carry a concealed handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (concealed handgun law), may not enter this property with a concealed handgun”; or
  2. A sign posted on the property that includes the language described above in both English and Spanish, appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height; and is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public.

Exception

It is an exception to the application of this law that the property on which the license holder carries a handgun is owned or leased by a district and is not a premises or other place on which the license holder is prohibited from carrying the handgun under Section 46.03 or 46.035.
Penal Code 30.06 [See also FNCG]

Unauthorized Notice

A district may not provide notice, by a communication described by Penal Code 30.06 or by any sign expressly referring to that law or to a concealed handgun license, that a license holder carrying a handgun under the authority of Government Code Chapter 411 is prohibited from entering or remaining on a premises or other place owned or leased by the district unless license holders are prohibited from carrying a handgun on the premises or other place by Penal Code 46.03 or 46.035. 
Gov’t Code 411.209

TRESPASS – OPEN CARRY OF HANDGUN

A holder of a license to openly carry a handgun commits an offense if the license holder:

  1. Openly carries a handgun on property of another without effective consent; and
  2. Received notice that entry on the property by a license holder openly carrying a handgun was forbidden.

Notice/Sign – Open Carry of Handgun

For purposes of Penal Code 30.07, a person receives notice if the owner of the property or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner provides notice to the person by oral or written communication.

“Written communication means”:

  1. A card or other document on which is written language identical to the following:  “Pursuant to Section 30.07, Penal Code (trespass by license holder with an openly carried handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a handgun that is carried openly”; or
  2. A sign posted on the property that includes the language described above in both English and Spanish, appears in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height, and is displayed in a conspicuous manner clearly visible to the public at each entrance to the property.

An offense under Penal Code 30.07 is a Class C misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if, after entering the property, the license holder was personally given the notice by oral communication that entry or remaining on the property with an openly carried handgun was forbidden and subsequently failed to depart.

Exception

It is an exception to Penal Code 30.07 that the property on which the license holder openly carries the handgun is owned or leased by a governmental entity and is not a premises or other place on which the license holder is prohibited from carrying the handgun under Penal Code 46.03 or 46.035.
Penal Code 30.07

INTERSCHOLASTIC EVENTS

Unless authorized by law a license holder commits a Class A misdemeanor if the license holder intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed or carried in a shoulder or belt holster, on the premises where a high school, collegiate, or professional sporting event or interscholastic event is taking place.

Penal Code 56.035(b)(2) does not apply if the license holder is a participant in the event and a handgun is used in the event. 
Penal Code 46.035(b)(2)

BOARD MEETINGS

Unless authorized by law a license holder commits a Class A misdemeanor if the license holder intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries a handgun, regardless of whether the handgun is concealed or carried in a shoulder or belt holster, in the room or rooms where a meeting of the board is held and if the meeting is an open meeting under the Open Meetings Act.

Penal Code 46.035(c) does not apply unless the license holder was given effective notice under Penal Code 30.06 or 30.07 [see NOTICE/SIGN – CONCEALED CARRY OF HANDGUN and NOTICE/SIGN – OPEN CARRY OF HANDGUN, above]
Penal Code 46.035(c),(i)

BOARD AUTHORIZATION

A license holder does not commit a criminal offense under Penal Code 46.035 [see INTERSCHOLASTIC EVENTS and BOARD MEETINGS, above] if the person is lawfully carrying a handgun pursuant to a board’s written regulations and authorization.  Att’y Gen. Op. GA-1051 (2014)  [See CKE (LEGAL), SECTION III]

Defense to Prosecution

It is a defense to prosecution under Penal Code 46.035(b) and (c) [see INTERSCHOLASTIC EVENTS and BOARD MEETINGS, above] that the actor, at the time of the commission of the offense was:

  1. A judge or justice of a federal court;
  2. An active judicial officer, as defined by Section 411.201, Government Code;
  3. A district attorney, assistant district attorney, criminal district attorney, assistant criminal district attorney, county attorney, or assistant county attorney; or
  4. A bailiff designated by the active judicial officer and engaged in escorting the officer.

Penal Code 46.035(h-1)
Adopted:         5/8/81
Amended:       3/12/82, 9/10/82, 11/11/83, 1/26/90, 9/27/91, 3/27/92, 1/29/93, 3/22/96, 11/15/96, 5/28/03, 1/30/04, 11/19/04, 11/20/09, 1/31/14, 9/29/17, 9/28/18
Reviewed: