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PURPOSE OF POLICY

The purpose of this policy is to provide the public an orderly process for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints. The Board intends that, whenever feasible, complaints be resolved at the lowest possible administrative level.

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

A board may confine its meetings to specified subject matter and may hold nonpublic sessions to transact business. But when the 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

Response to Complaints

There is no requirement that the board negotiate or even respond to complaints. However, the board must stop, look, and listen and must consider the petition, address, or remonstrance.  Professional Association of College Educators v. El Paso County Community [College] District, 678 S.W.2d 94 (Tex. App.-El Paso 1984, writ ref'd n.r.e.)

FEDERAL LAWS

Section 504

The School 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.  29 U.S.C. 794; 34 CFR 104.7(b)

Americans With Disabilities Act

The School 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 CFR 35.107

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES

Informal Process

The Board encourages the public to discuss concerns and complaints through informal conferences with the appropriate administrator.

Concerns should be expressed as soon as possible to allow early resolution at the lowest possible administrative level.

Formal Process

If an informal conference regarding a complaint fails to reach the outcome requested by an individual, he or she may initiate the formal process described below by timely filing a written complaint form.

Even after initiating the formal complaint process, individuals are encouraged to seek informal resolution of their concerns. An individual whose concerns are resolved may withdraw a formal complaint at any time.

The process described in this policy shall not be construed to create new or additional rights beyond those granted by law or Board policy, nor to require a full evidentiary hearing or "mini-trial" at any level.

Freedom From Retaliation

Neither the Board nor any School employee shall unlawfully retaliate against any individual or any individual's child for bringing a concern or complaint.

Application

Except as addressed by Specific Complaints, below, this policy applies to all complaints or grievances from the public.

Specific Complaints

For more information on how to proceed with complaints regarding:

  1. Alleged discrimination, see GA.
  2. Instructional materials, see EFA. 
  3. On-campus distribution of nonschool materials, see GKDA.

Definitions

For purposes of this policy, terms are defined as follows:

Complaint/Grievance

The terms "complaint" and "grievance" shall have the same meaning.

Filing

Complaint forms and appeal notices may be filed by hand-delivery, fax, or U.S. Mail. Hand-delivered filings shall be timely filed if received by the appropriate administrator or designee by the close of business on the deadline. Fax filings shall be timely filed if they are received on or before the deadline, as indicated by the date/time shown on the fax copy. Mail filings shall be timely filed if they are postmarked by U.S. Mail on the deadline and received by the appropriate administrator or designated representative no more than three days after the deadline.

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.

Response

At Levels One and Two, "response" shall mean a written communication to the individual from the appropriate administrator. Responses may be hand-delivered or sent by U.S. Mail to the individual's mailing address of record.  Mailed responses shall be timely if they are postmarked by U.S. Mail on the deadline and received by the individual or designated representative no more than three days after the response deadline.

Representative

"Representative" shall mean any person who or organization that is designated by an individual to represent the individual in the complaint process.

The individual may designate a representative through written notice to the School at any level of this process. If the individual designates a representative with fewer than three days' notice to the School  before a scheduled conference or hearing, the School may reschedule the conference or hearing to a later date, if desired, in order to include the School’s counsel.

General Provisions

Complaints arising out of an event or a series of related events shall be addressed in one complaint. An individual shall not bring separate or serial complaints arising from any event or series of events that have been or could have been addressed in a previous complaint.

Untimely Filings

All time limits shall be strictly followed unless modified by mutual written consent.

If a complaint form or appeal notice is not timely filed, the complaint may be dismissed, on written notice to the individual, at any point during the complaint process. The individual may appeal the dismissal by seeking review in writing within ten days, starting at the level at which the complaint was dismissed. Such appeal shall be limited to the issue of timeliness.

Costs Incurred

Each party shall pay its own costs incurred in the course of the complaint.

PROCEDURAL RULES

Filing Grievances

An individual having a complaint shall initiate the complaint process with the Office of the Superintendent within ten days of the time the individual first knew, or should have known, of the event, or series of events, causing the complaint. The Superintendent or designee shall explain the process of bringing the complaint as follows:

INFORMAL PROBLEM SOLVING CONFERENCE

Prior to the time the individual files a Level One Complaint, the complainant and the supervisor(s) shall attempt to resolve the problem informally (here titled the “informal problem solving conference”).

Within five days of initiating the complaint process with the Superintendent’s Office, the complainant shall contact the supervisor in whose area of responsibility the complaint lies and request a conference to attempt to resolve the complaint orally with the supervisor.  The supervisor must schedule the

conference to occur within five days of the complainant’s request for an informal problem solving conference.

The supervisor to whom the complainant brings the complaint shall summarize both the individual’s complaint and the supervisor’s determination in writing and present it to the complainant within five days of the conference.

Complaint Form

Complaints under this policy shall be submitted in writing on a form provided by the School. (See GF-Exhibit). 

Copies of any documents that support the complaint should be attached to the complaint form. If the individual does not have copies of these documents, they may be presented at the Level One conference. After the Level One conference, no new documents may be submitted unless the individual did not know the documents existed before the Level One conference.

A complaint form that is incomplete in any material aspect may be dismissed, but may be refiled with all the requested information if the refiling is within the designated time for filing a complaint.

If the only administrator who has authority to remedy the alleged problem is the Superintendent or designee, the complaint may begin at Level Two following the procedure, including deadlines, for filing the complaint form at Level One.

FORMAL GRIEVANCE

Level One:  Supervisor and/or Higher Level Administrators

If the individual is not satisfied with the results of the informal problem solving conference, a written grievance may be filed. The written grievance must be filed with the Office of the Superintendent within ten days from the time the supervisor notifies the individual in writing of the summary/outcome of the informal problem solving conference.

The written grievance must contain all of the information requested in the grievance form (GF-E). The written grievance must include the administrator’s written response from the informal problem solving conference.

Any grievance that is incomplete when filed shall be returned to the grievant who shall then have five days to refile the grievance. If the grievance is refiled without containing all necessary information, or is incomplete in any material manner, it may be dismissed for such failure.

If the complaint is not filed with the appropriate administrator, the receiving administrator must note the date and time the complaint form was received and immediately forward the complaint form to the appropriate administrator.

The appropriate administrator shall hold a conference with the individual within ten days after receipt of the written complaint.

The administrator shall have ten days following the conference to provide the individual a written response.

Level Two:  Appeal to the Superintendent

If the individual did not receive the relief requested at Level One or if the time for a response has expired, he or she may request a conference with the Superintendent or designee to appeal the Level One decision.

The appeal notice must be filed in writing, on a form provided by the School, within ten days after receipt of a response or, if no response was received, within ten days of the response deadline at Level One. (See GF Exhibit). 

The Superintendent or designee shall hold a conference with the grievant within ten days after the appeal notice is filed. At the conference, the Superintendent or designee shall consider only the issues and documents presented at Level One and identified in the Level Two appeal notice. The Superintendent may, but is not required to, take testimony and accept evidence supporting the grievant or the level one supervisor’s decision(s).  The Superintendent or designee shall have ten days following the conference to provide the individual a written response.

The Superintendent or designee shall deliver a copy of the response to the grievant by either hand, e-mail, or certified mail, return receipt requested

Level Three:  Appeal to the Board

If the individual did not receive the relief requested at Level Two or if the time for a response has expired, he or she may appeal the decision to the Board.

The appeal notice must be filed in writing with the Superintendent's Office, on a form provided by the School, within thirty days after receipt of a response or, if no response was received, within  thirty days of the response deadline at Level Two.  (See GF Exhibit)

Upon receipt of such written notification, the Superintendent, in consultation with the Board President, shall place the grievant’s complaint on the agenda of the next regularly scheduled Board meeting for which the deadline for submission of the agenda to the Texas Register in accordance with the requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act has not passed, in which case the matter shall be placed on the following regularly scheduled meeting.

The Superintendent or designee shall inform the individual of the date, time, and place of the Board meeting at which the complainant will be on the agenda for presentation to the Board.  Procedures for appeals to the Board as described in this policy shall be provided to the grievant by the Superintendent’s office upon request.

The Superintendent or designee shall provide the Board with copies of the complaint form, all responses, all appeal notices, and all written documentation previously submitted by the individual or

the administration. The Board shall consider only those issues and documents presented at the preceding levels and identified in the appeal notice.

At the regularly scheduled meeting, the Board shall listen to the complaint, but is not required to respond or take any action on the matter.

The Board shall determine whether the complaint will be presented in open or closed meeting in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act and other applicable law. [See BE]

The presiding officer may set reasonable time limits and guidelines for the presentation. The Board shall hear the complaint and may request that the administration provide an explanation for the decisions at the preceding levels.

The Board shall then consider the complaint. The Board may determine that additional information is needed to arrive at a decision. The Board will inform the grievant and the Superintendent as to the information needed, and postpone a decision to the next scheduled or specially called session of the Board.

The Board may give notice of its decision orally or in writing at any time up to and including the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. If for any reason the Board fails to reach a decision regarding the complaint by the end of the next regularly scheduled meeting, the lack of a response by the Board upholds the administrative decision at Level Two.

Announcing a decision in the grievant's presence constitutes communicating the decision.

If the Board does make a decision, the Board shall respond, in writing, within ten (10) days of the Board meeting at which the grievant’s appeal was heard.

There will be no further appeal within the public complaint process of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

APPEAL TO THE COMMISSIONER

A person may appeal the decision of the Board to the Commissioner of Education if the person is aggrieved by an action or decision of the Board that violates the school laws of Texas or violates a provision of a written employment contract between the School and the School employee, if such violation causes or would cause monetary harm to the employee.

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

An appeal of the Board's decision to the Commissioner of Education shall be decided based on a review of the record developed at the Board hearing.  "Record" includes, at a minimum, an audible electronic recording or written transcript of all oral testimony or argument.  Education Code 7.057(c),(f)

In addition to any other record of the Board meeting required by law, the Board shall prepare a separate record of the Level Three presentation.   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. Cr. App. 1991)

Adopted:          5/25/05

Amended:        1/26/07, 10/3/14, 11/21/14

Reviewed:       

The forms on the following pages are provided to assist the School in processing public complaints.

Download the forms

Exhibit A:         Complaint Form — Level One

Exhibit B:         Response to Level One Grievance

Exhibit C:         Level Two Appeal Notice

Exhibit D:         Response to Level Two Appeal

Exhibit E:         Level Three Appeal Notice

Exhibit F:         Board’s Response to Level Three Appeal

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

School officials may request assistance from law enforcement in an emergency or when a person’s behavior rises to the level of criminal conduct.  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 supervised by proper authorities;
  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

TSBVI prohibits the unlawful use, possession, or display of any firearm, location-restricted knife, club, or prohibited weapon, as defined at FNCG, on all School property at all times, except that possession shall be permitted by:  (1) a peace officer; and (2) an employee who has the written permission of the Board or Superintendent.

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 by the Board or its designee.

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 FNCGPenal 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 usually include any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area.  Penal Code 46.035(f)(3)

However, because our visually impaired students walk and mobility train everywhere on the TSBVI campus around the clock, including but not limited to sidewalks, parking lots and streets, all of these areas are designated as locations for school sponsored activities at all times.  The only exception to this is the superintendent’s residence and yard.  Therefore, only employees with written permission from the Board or Superintendent may store a licensed firearm in a locked vehicle, unloaded and out of sight.  Att’y. Gen.Op. KP-50 (2015)

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:

  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 the Board’s written regulations and authorization.  Att’y Gen. Op. GA-1051 (2014)  [See CKE]

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, 8/9/19

Reviewed:

CHARITABLE RAFFLES

A raffle is the awarding of one or more prizes by chance at a single occasion among a pool or group of persons who have paid or promised a thing of value for a ticket that represents a chance to win a prize. Occupations Code 2002.002(6)

A "qualified nonprofit organization" for purposes of The Charitable Raffle Enabling Act may conduct raffles in accordance with the Act to benefit the School. A parent-teacher organization may be qualified to hold such raffles if it meets the requirements of the Act. Occupations Code 2002.003, 2002.051; Atty. Gen. Op. JM-1176(1990) [See also CDC and FJ]

Commercial signs

A person commits an offense if the person erects or maintains a commercial sign or a sign in violation of Transportation Code Chapters 391 through 395 and the relevant provisions of the Administrative Code.  Transp. Code 391.003, .0031, .061, .067, 392.032, 393.005, 394.021; 43 TAC Chapter 21

General Definitions

“Commercial sing means a sign that is:

  1. Intended to be leased, or for which payment of any type is intended to be or is received, for the display of any good, service, brand, slogan, message, product, or company, except that the term does not include a sign that is leased to a business entity and located on the same property on which the business is located; or
  2. Located on property owned or leased for the primary purpose of displaying a sign.

Transp. Code 391.001(1-a)

“Sign” means any structure, display, light, device, figure, painting, drawing, message, plaque, placard, poster, billboard, logo, or symbol that is designed, intended, or used to advertise or inform.  Transp. Code 391.001(11-a), 392.001, 393.001, 394.001, 395.002

“Electronic sign” means a sign, display, or device that changes its message or copy by programmable electronic or mechanical processes.  43. TAC 21.251

“Directional sign” means a sign that contains only a message that identifies an attraction or activity and provides directional information, such as mileage, route number, or exit number, useful to the traveler in locating the attraction or activity.

Adopted:         3/21/03

Amended:       1/25/19

Reviewed:       1/27/06

Any person with a legitimate interest shall be permitted to visit the School once they have cleared a security check.  All visitors are subject to the same rules and regulations governing conduct as apply to students and employees.  Proper photo identification such as a driver’s license or another government issued form of photo identification shall be required of any person on school grounds.  Any person perceived as a threat to students or who violates School rules may be evicted and may be subject to arrest and prosecution.

PROCEDURES

Visitor Database

TSBVI has established an electronic database for the purpose of storing information concerning visitors to campus.  Information stored in the electronic database may be used only for the purpose of school security and may not be sold or otherwise disseminated to a third party for any purpose.

The Superintendent shall develop written procedures concerning visitors to the School that, at a minimum, address campus security and use of the Visitor's Quarters.

STUDENT VISITORS

On-campus visitors for students must be specifically permitted by parents through a signed consent form. Parental permission must also be obtained through a signed consent form prior to allowing any visitors to take a student under 18 off campus for any reason.  Visitors shall observe all school regulations and schedules.  Visiting privileges may be withdrawn from any person who violates rules, serves as an inappropriate role model for students, or otherwise poses a threat to the safety and well-being of students.

VISITORS QUARTERS

Visitors, parents, and interns with a legitimate interest may be provided lodging at the School with administrative approval, and on a space-available basis so long as this does not interfere with the operation of the Schools' programs. Such visitors shall abide by administrative procedures.

Sex Offenders

TSBVI may verify whether a visitor to TSBVI is a sex offender registered with the computerized central database maintained by the Department of Public Safety as provided by Code of Criminal Procedure 62.005 or any other database accessible by the School.

The Board shall adopt a policy regarding the action to be taken by the administration of a school campus when a visitor is identified as a sex offender.

Education Code 38.022

Notice of Entry onto School Premises

“Premises” means a building or portion of a building and the grounds on which the building is located, including any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, or parking garage on the grounds.

“School” means a private or public elementary or secondary school or a day-care center.

A registered sex offender who enters the premises of any school in Texas shall immediately notify the administrative office of the school of the person’s presence on the premises of the school and the person’s registration status.  The office may provide a chaperon to accompany the person while the person is on the premises of the School.

These requirements do not apply to:

  1. A student from another school participating at an event at the School; or
  2. A person who has entered into a written agreement with the School that exempts the person from these requirements.

Code of Crim. Proc. 62.064; Health and Safety Code 481.134

Adopted:         1/13/79

Amended:       11/13/81, 1/29/93, 3/21/97, 5/28/03, 1/30/04, 6/1/18

Reviewed:

PROHIBITED ACTS

An officer or employee of the School who is acting or purporting to act in an official capacity may not, because of a person's race, religion, color, sex, or national origin:

  1. Refuse to permit the person to use facilities open to the public and owned, operated, or managed by or on behalf of the School;
  2. Refuse to permit the person to participate in a program owned, operated, or managed by or on behalf of the School;
  3. Refuse to grant a benefit to the person; or
  4. Impose an unreasonable burden on the person.

Civil Practices and Remedies Code 1406.001(a)

FACILITIES USE

The Board may lease or allow the use of some or all of the physical facilities of the School to:

  1. any organization, group, or individual for the prevailing market rate; or
  2. a federal or state agency, a unit of local government, a nonprofit organization, a school employee, or an individual member of the general public for less than the prevailing market rate if the Board determines that sufficient public benefit will be derived from the use.

Education Code 30.022(j)

The use of the physical facilities of the School is limited to educational, recreational, civic, or social activities, when these activities do not conflict with School use or with this policy. 

For purposes of this policy, "facilities" shall refer to the School’s physical plants; that is, classrooms, gymnasiums, cafeterias, and the like.  The term shall not apply to buses, billboards, and other such School property.

Organizations or individuals using school facilities shall release the School from liability for personal injury and/or damages to personal property.  All groups using school facilities shall be responsible for the cost of damages incurred during their use.

Privileges may be withdrawn from any person or organization who violates rules, serves as an inappropriate role model for students, or otherwise poses a threat to the safety and well-being of students.

FORUM FOR COMMUNICATION

TSBVI may create a public forum of a place or channel of communication for use by the public at large for assembly and speech, for use by certain speakers, or for the discussion of certain subjects. Perry Educ.  Ass’n v. Perry Local Educators’ Ass’n, 460 U.S.37 (1983); Chiu v. Plano Indep. Sch. Dist., 260 F.3d 330 (5th Cir. 2001)

TSBVI is not required to allow persons to engage in every type of speech when the School establishes a limited public forum; TSBVI may be justified in reserving its forum for certain topics. TSBVI shall not discriminate against speech on the basis of viewpoint, and any restriction must be reasonable in light of the purpose served by the forum.  Good News Club v. Milford Cent. Sch., 533 U.S. 98 (2001); Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free Sch. Dist., 508 U.S. 384 (1993)

Fees for use

The Board may set and collect rentals, rates, and charges from students and others for the occupancy or use of any of the School’s facilities, in the amounts and manner determined by the Board.

Education Code 45.033

PROCEDURES

The Superintendent shall develop procedures to implement this policy which include a fee schedule for leasing school facilities.

REPORT TO BOARD

The Superintendent will provide to the Board of Trustees at each regularly scheduled meeting of the Board a list of all organizations, agencies, and individuals that have used the school facilities.

RIGHT TO PRESERVE USE

The School, like a private property owner, may legally preserve the property under its control for the use to which it is dedicated.

Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free Sch. Dist., 508 U.S. 384, (1993)

PATRIOTIC SOCIETIES

The School shall not deny equal access or a fair opportunity to meet, nor discriminate against, any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, or any other youth group listed in Title 36 of the United States Code (as a patriotic society), that wishes to conduct a meeting within that designated open forum or limited public forum, including denying such access or opportunity or discriminating for reasons based on the membership or leadership criteria or oath of allegiance to God and country of the Boy Scouts of America or of the youth group listed as a patriotic society.

The United States secretary of education may issue and secure compliance with rules or orders with respect to the School and school districts that receive federal funds and that deny equal access, or a fair opportunity to meet, or discriminate, as described above.  If the School does not comply with the rules or orders, no funds made available through the Department of Education shall be provided to the School.

“Youth Group”

“Youth group” means any group or organization intended to serve young people under the age of 21.

Limited Public Forum

For purposes of this policy regarding Patriotic Societies the School has limited public forum whenever the School grants an offering to, or opportunity for, one or more outside youth or community groups to meet on School premises or in School facilities before or after the hours during which attendance at the School is compulsory.

Sponsorship

Nothing in this policy shall be construed to require the School to sponsor any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, or any youth group listed as a patriotic society.

Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, 20 U.S.C. 7905

FACILITIES AS POLLING PLACES

The School shall make its buildings available for use as polling places in any election that covers territory in which the buildings are located.  If more than one authority requests the use of the buildings for the same day and simultaneous use is impractical, the School shall determine which authority may use the building.

Election Code 43.031(c)

No charge, including a charge for personnel, utilities, or other expenses incurred before or after regular business hours, shall be made for the use of a school building for a polling place if the day of the election is a day on which the building is normally open.  If the day of an election is a day on which the building is not normally open, a charge may be made only for the reimbursement of actual expenses resulting from use of the building in the election.

Election Code 43.033(a)

POLITICAL PARTY CONVENTIONS

The School shall not assess a charge for the use of a school building for a precinct, county or senatorial district convention, except for reimbursement for the actual charges resulting from use of the building for the convention.  The School shall provide an itemized statement of expenses to the reimbursing authority.

Election Code 174.0631

Adopted:          11/7/80

Amended:        1/26/90, 3/9/90, 5/31/90, 1/29/93, 8/1/97, 5/28/03, 5/25/05, 1/25/19

Reviewed:        1/24/02

DISTRIBUTION OF NONSCHOOL PUBLICATIONS

Activities such as distributing literature, displaying signs, petitioning for change, and disseminating information concerning issues of public concern are protected by the First Amendment

Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network, 519 U.S. 357, 117 S. Ct. 855 (1997) (recognizing leafletting and commenting on matters of public concern as protected speech); Boos v. Barry, 485 U.S. 312, 108 S. Ct. 1157 (1988) (recognizing public issue signs as protected speech); Meyer v. Grant, 486 U.S. 414, 108 S. Ct. 1886 (1988) (recognizing the solicitation of signatures for a petition drive as protected speech)

The School may impose time, place, and manner regulations and may reserve its facilities for their intended purposes, communicative or otherwise, as long as the regulation on speech is reasonable and not an effort to suppress expression merely because public officials oppose the speaker's view.

Perry Educ. Ass'n v. Perry Local Educators' Ass'n, 460 U.S. 37, 103 S. Ct. 948 (1983)

The School may not require prior review before permitting nondisruptive distribution of written materials on matters of public concern at a parents-only school-sponsored meeting after school hours.

Chiu v. Plano Indep. Sch. Dist., 339 F.3d 273 (5th Cir. 2003)

DISTRIBUTION ON SCHOOL CAMPUS

Written or printed materials, handbills, photographs, pictures, films, tapes, or other visual or auditory materials over which the School does not exercise control shall not be sold, circulated, or distributed by persons or groups not associated with the school or a school support group on any school premises in the School without permission in accordance with this policy.

The Schools classrooms and residential facilities are provided for the limited purpose of delivering instruction and residential living opportunities to students at the School. Hallways in school buildings are provided for the limited purpose of facilitating the movement of students between classes and allowing access to assigned lockers. Classrooms and hallways shall not be used for the distribution of any materials over which the school does not exercise control.

The administrator in charge of each school area in which the School has individual employee mailboxes shall designate an area near the mailboxes where materials that have been approved for distribution, as provided below, may be made available or distributed to students or others in accordance with any time, place, and manner restrictions developed and approved by the Superintendent.

Prior Review

All written material over which the school does not exercise control and that is intended for distribution on School property shall be submitted for prior review according to the following procedures:

  1. Materials shall be submitted to the Superintendent or designee for review.
  2. To be considered for distribution, materials shall include the name of the organization or individual sponsoring the distribution.
  3. Using the standards below at LIMITATIONS ON CONTENT the Superintendent or designee shall approve or reject submitted material within two school days of the time the material is received.
  4. The requestor may appeal the decision of the Superintendent or designee to the Board in accordance with TSBVI Policy GF, beginning at the appropriate Level.

Appropriate law enforcement officials may be called when a person refuses to follow the procedures for submitting materials and fails to leave the premises when asked. [See GKA]

Limitations on Content

Nonschool materials shall not be distributed if:

  1. The materials are obscene, vulgar, or otherwise inappropriate for the age and maturity of the audience.
  2. The materials endorse actions endangering the health or safety of students.
  3. The distribution of such materials would violate the intellectual property rights, privacy rights, or other rights of another person.
  4. The materials contain defamatory statements about public figures or others.
  5. The materials criticize Board members or school officials or advocate violation of school rules and fall within the standard described at LIMITATIONS ON EXPRESSION at FNAA (LEGAL).
  6. The materials advocate imminent lawless or disruptive action and are likely to incite or produce such action.
  7. The materials include hate literature that scurrilously attacks ethnic, religious, or racial groups, and similar publications aimed at creating hostility and violence if they fall within the standard described at LIMITATIONS ON EXPRESSION at FNAA(LEGAL).

USE OF SCHOOL MAIL SYSTEM

Unless it has been opened to the public, by policy or practice, a school mail system is not a public forum. The School may create a limited public forum in its campus mailboxes.

Perry Educ. Ass'n v. Perry Local Educators' Ass'n, 460 U.S. 37, 103 S. Ct. 948 (1983)

[See CPAB regarding use of the Schools internal mail system and FNAA regarding distribution of nonschool literature by students]

Adopted: 5/25/05

Amended:

Reviewed:

GKG (TSBVI) - COMMUNITY RELATIONS: SCHOOL VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

The Superintendent shall ensure that the School implements a volunteer program to supplement and support the efforts of employed staff to work directly with students in the instructional or residential programs, or to provide support services in other departments of the School. In implementing the program, the School shall consider volunteers a resource that requires advance training, planning and preparation for effective use. Volunteers shall not be used to usurp, diminish, or replace the positions or functions of employed staff. If practicable, the School shall include volunteers in addition to paid staff in planning the implementation of the program.  [Govt. Code 2109.003]

Volunteers serve without receiving compensation in the form of hourly wages or salary.

Reimbursement for necessary and authorized expenses are not considered compensation.

The purpose of volunteer activity at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is to meet the needs of the School and its students rather than to meet the needs of prospective volunteers.

The Superintendent designates the Director of Community Resources to coordinate the School's volunteer program. The Director of Community Resources or designee will work with prospective volunteers who have a genuine interest in visually impaired students or the operation of the School and can provide a needed service within the School's programs or operational functions. 

Authority

Volunteers in the school shall work directly under the supervision of the designated staff member in whose activity they are assigned, in accordance with approved procedures.

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS AND GUIDELINES

Application

All prospective volunteers shall fill out an application form provided by the School.

The School's volunteer program shall include:

  1. An effective training program for paid staff and prospective volunteers.
  2. The use of paid staff to plan and implement the volunteer program.
  3. An evaluation mechanism to assess the performance of volunteers, the cooperation of paid staff with the volunteers, and the overall volunteer program.
  4. Follow-up studies to ensure the effectiveness of the program.

Govt. Code 2109.004(a)

The School may:

  1. Reimburse volunteers for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of volunteer services.
  2. Cooperate with private organizations that provide services related to those provided by the School.
  3. Purchase engraved certificates, plaques, pins, and/or other awards of a similar nature that do not exceed $50 per person in value to recognize special achievement and outstanding service of volunteers.

Govt. Code 2113.202(b)

CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORD

Applicability

This section applies to a volunteer or person who has indicated, in writing, an intention to serve as a volunteer with the School. 

Exception

This section does not apply to a person who volunteers or is applying to volunteer with the School if the person is volunteering for a single event on the school campus and will be escorted by School employees so that at no time is the volunteer alone with a student.

Criminal History Record Check

Upon the request of campus administrators, TSBVI shall obtain the criminal history record of prospective school volunteers and shall inform volunteers when their services are to begin.

TSBVI requires a criminal history record check of all prospective mentors.

A volunteer may not perform any volunteer duties until:

  1. The volunteer has provided to the School a driver’s license or another form of identification containing the person’s photograph issued by an entity of the United States government; and
  2. The School has obtained from the Texas Department of Public Safety and may obtain from any other law enforcement agency, criminal justice agency, or private consumer reporting agency all criminal history record information that relates to a volunteer.

Costs

The School shall pay any costs related to obtaining criminal history record information under this section.

Education Code 22.0835

VOLUNTEER IMMUNITY

A volunteer who is serving as a direct service volunteer at TSBVI is immune from civil liability to the same extent as a School employee under Education Code 22.051.  However, this section of law does not limit the liability of a person for intentional misconduct or gross negligence.

A "volunteer" is a person rendering services for or on behalf of the School on School premises or at a School-sponsored or School-related activity on or off School property who does not receive compensation in excess of reimbursement for expenses.

Education Code 22.053; 30.02

Extracurricular Activities

A person who volunteers to assist with an extracurricular activity is not liable for civil damages arising out of an act or omission relating to the requirements under Education Code 33.205 regarding safety precautions [see FM(LEGAL)] unless the act or omission is willfully or wantonly negligent.  Education Code 33.211

Physical Examinations

Subject to Civil Practices and Remedies Code 91.003 (liability insurance requirements), a health-care practitioner who, without compensation or expectation of compensation, conducts a physical examination or medical screening for the purpose of determining the physical health and fitness of the patient to participate in a school-sponsored extracurricular or sporting activity is immune from civil liability for any act of omission resulting in the death of or injury to the patient if:

  1. The health-care practitioner was acting in good faith and in the course and scope of the health-care practitioner’s duties;
  2. The health-care practitioner commits the act or omission in the course of conducting the physical examination or medical screening of the patient;
  3. The services provided to the patient are within the scope of the license of the health-care practitioner; and
  4. Before the health-care practitioner conducts the physical examination or medical screening, the patient signs a written statement that acknowledges:
    1. That the health-care practitioner is conducting a physical examination or medical screening that is not administered for or in expectation of compensation; and
    2. The limitations on the recovery of damages form the health-care practitioner in connection with the physical examination or medical screening being performed.

If the patient is a minor or is otherwise legally incompetent, the patient’s parent, managing conservator, legal guardian, or other person with legal responsibility for the care of the patient must sign the written statement.

Civil Practice and Remedies Code 91.002

Immunity for Shelter Workers

A School volunteer is not civilly liable for an act performed in the discharge of duty if the person is performing an activity related to sheltering or housing individuals in connection with the evacuation of an area stricken or threatened by disaster.  Gov’t Code 418.006, 431.085

Training-Concussion oversight team

A licensed healthcare profession who serves on a volunteer basis on the School’s concussion oversight team [see FM] must have had training in the evaluation, treatment, and oversight of concussions at the time of appointment or approval as a member of the team.  In addition, the professional shall, at least once every two years, take a course in the subject matter of concussions approved by the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the Texas Department of State Health Services Advisory Board of Athletic Trainer, or the appropriate licensing authority for the profession.

The professional must submit proof of timely completion of an approved course to the Superintendent or designee.  A licensed healthcare professional who is not in compliance with these training requirements may not serve on a concussion oversight team in any capacity.

Education Code 38.154, .158

PROCEDURES

The Superintendent shall develop procedures to implement a Volunteer Program. These procedures shall address, but not be limited to, the following areas: criminal records checks, documentation of time volunteered, training of volunteers, monitoring of volunteers, dismissal of volunteers, and cancellation of volunteer activities. 

Adopted:          11/13/81

Amended:        9/26/86, 11/12/87, 9/25/92, 3/26/93, 9/29/95, 1/23/98, 5/28/03, 11/18/05, 6/4/08, 4/5/19

Reviewed:

AFTER-SCHOOL RECREATION PROGRAM

The Superintendent may permit students from local districts with visual impairments to participate in the TSBVI after-school and weekend recreation programs on a day-basis only in accordance with procedures developed and implemented by the Superintendent.

Adopted: 7/26/96

Amended:

Reviewed: 3/26/04


ACCREDITATION REQUIRED

Accreditation for TSBVI shall be determined in accordance with Texas Education Code 30.005 and 19 TAC 97.1012.

INDICATORS OF PERFORMANCE

The Texas Education Agency and TSBVI shall jointly develop and agree upon a set of quality indicators that are appropriate to the characteristics of students served by TSBVI.

Annually, the commissioner shall approve indicators of performance that measure the quality of student learning at the School.

The indicators shall include measures of academic and/or developmental performance, as well as other measures appropriate to the characteristics of the student populations served.

To the extent possible, the indicators shall incorporate academic excellence indicators and alternative assessment measures required by State statute under Texas Education Code (TEC), Subchapter B, Chapter 39.

ANNUAL PERFORMANCE EVALUATION

The School's annual performance evaluation shall be based on quality indicators selected annually from among the set of quality indicators developed, and jointly agreed upon, by TSBVI and TEA to address the characteristics of the student groups served.

The selected quality indicators used for the annual performance evaluation shall measure, as appropriate, academic and/or non-academic performance on norm- or criterion-referenced instruments, progress in the attainment of student individualized education program goals, statewide criterion-referenced assessment, completion of courses of credits, or completion of graduation requirements. Additional non-academic indicators may be selected that measure dropout rates, attendance, or other appropriate measures of student success.

METHOD OF EVALUATION

The method for evaluating TSBVI's annual performance shall be determined as follows:

  1. Annually, by September 1, TSBVI shall submit to the commissioner an accountability proposal. The proposal shall be developed with input from the School's planning and decision-making committee, and shall include the following information to be used to determine the current year accountability rating:
    1. quality indicators,
    2. performance objectives within each indicator, and
    3. minimum standards for determining achievement of performance objectives.
  2. By September 15, the commissioner shall review the proposal and notify the School superintendent of approval, or needed modifications to obtain approval of the proposed indicators and performance objectives to be used for determining an accountability rating.
  3. By November 1, the commissioner shall provide notification of final approval of the proposal indicators and performance objectives.
  4. By July 1, following the year for which the School's performance is being evaluated, the School shall submit to the Agency all complete and accurate data necessary to document performance with respect to the approved indicators and performance objectives selected for rating purposes under the accountability system.
  5. TEA shall perform an annual performance evaluation for TSBVI beginning with the 2000-2001 school year.

ACCREDITATION STATUS

By September 1 the commissioner shall assign the School a rating of "acceptable" or "needing on-site review."

To attain a rating of "acceptable," the School shall attain all approved performance objectives established for each selected indicator.

If the School receives a rating of "needing on-site review," the School may appeal the rating to the commissioners by October 1. The rating will be final by November 1.

The determination of the performance rating may include consideration of the effectiveness of the special education program based on the Agency's most recent compliance review of the School and program for special populations.

ACCOUNTABILITY COMPLIANCE REVIEWS

The Texas Education Agency shall monitor the School's compliance with federal and state laws and regulations related to services for special populations by conducting a periodic on-site review. TEA shall determine the schedule for the review.

ANNUAL PERFORMANCE REPORT

The Governing Board of the School shall publish an annual report describing the educational performance of the School.

The report shall include the School's performance objectives, progress toward these objectives, and the School's performance rating assigned by the Agency. Supplemental information to be included in the report shall be determined by the School's governing board.

The governing board of the School will disseminate the annual performance report to parents of enrolled students' districts that have placed students at the School, and regional education service centers. Additionally, the governing board will notify parents of enrolled students' districts which have placed students at the School, and regional education service centers, of an opportunity for public discussion of the annual performance report at a regularly scheduled board meeting. The School's planning and decision-making committee will hold at least one public meeting for the purpose of discussing the School's performance report.

By December 1 the School shall disseminate the annual performance report.

Education Code 30.005, 19 TAC 97.1012

CHARACTER PLUS SCHOOL

TEA shall, based on data reported by districts, annually designate as a Character Plus School each school that provides a character education program that meets the prescribed criteria and is approved by the committee selected by a district. Education Code 29.903(e)(2) [See EHKB]

ADOPTED: 5/20/99
AMENDED: 11/21/03
REVIEWED: 11/19/04, 11/20/09