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GBAA - INFORMATION ACCESS:  REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION.. 1

OFFICER FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION.. 3

Public Information Officer 3

SIGN.. 3

ACCESS TO PUBLIC INFORMATION.. 4

Time for Response. 4

Location of Access. 4

Establishing Identity. 4

Treatment of Requests. 5

EXAMINATION.. 5

Electronic Data. 6

Requests Requiring Programming or Manipulation. 6

Response Time When Programming or Manipulation Is Required. 7

Further Action. 7

Processing of Requests. 7

Repetitious or Redundant Requests. 7

Procedures. 8

ATTORNEY GENERAL DECISIONS. 8

Calculating Timelines. 8

Previous Determinations. 9

Statement to Requestor 10

Submission to Attorney General 10

Failure to Raise Exceptions Before Attorney General 11

Additional Information. 11

Privacy or Property Interests. 12

Notice to Owner of Proprietary Information. 12

COSTS AND CHARGES. 12

50 Pages or Less. 12

Statement of Labor Costs. 12

Exemptions. 13

Copies for Parents. 13

Statement of Estimated Charges. 13

Requestor's Response. 14

Actual Charges. 14

Timing of Deadlines. 14

Deposit or Bond/Triggers Timeline. 15

Modified Request 15

Unpaid Amounts. 15

Waivers. 15

Government Publication. 16

INSPECTION OF PUBLIC INFORMATION.. 16

Redaction of Confidential Information. 16

Payment, Deposit or Bond. 16

Electronic Records. 16

PRESERVATION OF RECORDS. 17

FILING SUIT TO WITHHOLD INFORMATION.. 17

PARENT'S REQUEST FOR INFORMATION.. 18

Frequent Requests. 18

Request by Minor 18

Exception. 18

Written Statement of Personnel Time. 19

Written Estimate of Charges. 19

Acceptance of Charges. 20

Waived or Reduced Charges. 20

 

OFFICER FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION

The Director of Planning and Evaluation shall be the School’s public information officer.  Each department head shall be an agent of the officer for public information for complying with the Public Information Act (PIA) and the School’s policy on public records.  The public information officer shall:

  1. Make public information available for public inspection and copying.
  2. Carefully protect public information from deterioration, alteration, mutilation, loss, or unlawful removal.
  3. Repair, renovate, or rebind public information when necessary to maintain it properly.

The public information officer is responsible for the release of public information as required by Government Code Chapter 552.  The officer is not responsible for the use made of the information by the requestor or the release of the information after it is removed from a record as a result of an update, correction, or change of status of the person to whom the information pertains.

Gov't Code 552.201-552.204

Public Information Officer

Within 90 days after assuming office, a public information officer shall complete a course of training regarding the responsibilities under the PIA (Public Information Act).

The training shall be not less than one nor more than two hours. The attorney general may provide the training and may also approve other acceptable sources of training.

TSBVI shall maintain and make available for public inspection the record of a public information officer’s completion of the training.

Gov’t Code 552.012(b), (e)

SIGN

The public information officer shall prominently display a sign in the form prescribed by the attorney general that contains basic information about the rights of a requestor, the responsibilities the School, and the procedures for inspecting or obtaining a copy of public information under the PIA.  The officer shall display the sign at one or more places in the administrative offices of the School where it is plainly visible to:

  1. Members of the public who request public information in person; and
  2. Employees of the School whose duties include receiving or responding to public information requests.

Gov't Code 552.205

ACCESS TO PUBLIC INFORMATION

The School may promulgate reasonable procedures by which public information may be

inspected and copied efficiently, safely, and without delay.  These procedures may not be inconsistent with any provision of the PIA.  Gov't Code 552.230

Time for Response

The Superintendent or designee shall promptly produce public information for inspection, duplication, or both, in the School’s offices on application by any person. "Promptly" means as soon as possible under the circumstances, that is, within a reasonable time, without delay.  Gov’t Code 552.228, .230

Location of Access

The Superintendent or designee complies with such a request by:

  1. providing the information for inspection or duplication in the School’s offices or
  2. sending copies of the information by first class mail, if the requestor requests that the copies be provided and pays the postage and any other applicable charges that the requestor has accrued under Chapter 552, Subchapter F.
  3. referring a requestor to an exact Internet location or uniform resource locator (URL) address on a website maintained by TSBVI and accessible to the public if the requested information is identifiable and readily available on that website.

If the officer for the public information provided by e-mail an Internet location or URL address, the e-mail must contain a statement in a conspicuous font clearly indicating that the requestor may nonetheless access the requested information by inspection or duplication or by receipt through United States Mail, as described above.

Gov’t Code 552.221(b)-(b-2), .226

If the requested information is unavailable because it is in storage or active use, the Superintendent or designee shall certify this fact in writing to the requestor and set a date and hour within a reasonable time when the information will be available for inspection or duplication.  If the Superintendent or designee cannot produce the public information for inspection or duplication within ten business days after the date the information is requested, the superintendent or designee shall certify that fact in writing to the requestor and set a date and hour within a reasonable time when the information will be available for inspection or duplication.  An original copy of public information shall not be removed from School offices by a requestor.

Gov't Code 552.221, 552.226; Tex. Atty. Gen. ORD-664 (2000)

Establishing Identity

The public information officer shall not make an inquiry of any requestor, except to establish proper identification or to ask the requestor to clarify.  If a large amount of information has been requested, the officer may discuss with the requestor how the scope of the request might be narrowed, but the officer may not inquire into the purpose for which the information will be used.  All reasonable comfort and facility shall be extended to the requestor.  Gov't Code 552.222, 552.224

The public information officer shall treat all requests for information uniformly without regard to the position or occupation of the requestor, the person on whose behalf the request is made, or the status of the individual as a member of the media.  Gov't Code 552.223

Treatment of Requests

If a large amount of information has been requested, the School may discuss with the requestor how the scope of the request might be narrowed, but the officer may not inquire into the purpose for which the information will be used.  If what information is requested is unclear, the officer may ask the requestor to clarify.

If the request included the requestor’s physical or mailing address, the officer must send the request for discussion or clarification to that address by certified mail.  The written request for discussion or clarification must include a statement as to the consequences of failure by the requestor to timely respond.

If the requestor’s request for public information was sent by electronic mail, the officer may send the request for clarification or discussion or the written request for additional information by electronic mail to the same electronic mail address from which the original request was sent or to another electronic mail address provided by the requestor.

If the officer does not receive a written response or a response by electronic mail, as applicable, by the 61st day after the School sends the written request, the underlying request for public information is considered to have been withdrawn by the requestor.

Gov’t Code 552,222(b), (d)-(g)

EXAMINATION

A requestor shall complete the examination of the information not later than the tenth business day after the date the officer for public information makes it available.  If the requestor does not complete the examination of the information within ten business days after the date the information is made available and does not file a request for additional time, the requestor is considered to have withdrawn the request.  The officer shall extend the initial examination period by an additional ten business days if, within the initial period, the requestor files with the officer a written request for additional time.  The officer shall permit a second additional ten business day examination period if, within the first additional period, the requestor files with the officer a second written request for time.  The time during which a person may examine information may be interrupted by the officer if the information is needed for use by the School.

The period of interruption is not considered to be a part of the time during which the person may examine the information. Gov't Code 552.225

A request is considered to have been withdrawn if the requestor fails to inspect or duplicate the public information in the offices of the governmental body on or before the 60th day after the date the information is made available or fails to pay the postage and any other applicable charges accrued under Government Code, Chapter 552, Subchapter F on or before the 60th day after the date the requestor is informed of the charges.

Gov’t Code 552.221(e)

Electronic Data

If public information exists in an electronic or magnetic medium, the requestor may request a copy in an electronic medium, such as on diskette or on magnetic tape.  TSBVI shall provide a copy in the requested medium:

  1. If the School has the technological ability to produce the information in the requested medium;
  2. If the School is not required to purchase any software or hardware to accommodate the request; and
  3. Providing the copy will not violate any copyright agreement between the School and a third party.

If the School is unable to comply with a request to produce a copy of information in a requested medium for any of these reasons, TSBVI shall provide a copy in another medium that is acceptable to the requestor.  TSBVI is not required to copy information onto a diskette or other material provided by the requestor but may use School supplies.

Gov’t Code 552.228

Requests Requiring Programming or Manipulation

If the officer determines that responding to a request for information will require programming or manipulation of data and that compliance with the request is not feasible or will result in substantial interference with operations or the information could be made available in the requested form only at a cost that covers the programming and manipulation of data, it shall provide to the requestor a written statement that includes all of the following information:

  1. A statement that the information is not available in the requested form;
  2. A description of the form in which the information is available;
  3. A description of any contract or services that would be required to provide the information in the requested form;
  4. A statement of the estimated cost of providing the information in the requested form, as determined in accordance with the rules established by the attorney general; and 
  5. A statement of the anticipated time required to provide the information in the requested form.

Response Time When Programming or Manipulation Is Required

The officer shall provide the written statement to the requestor within 20 days after the date the officer receives the request. The officer has an additional ten days to provide the statement if the officer gives written notice to the requestor within 20 days after receiving the request that additional time is needed.

Further Action

After providing the written statement described above, the officer has no further obligation to provide the information in the requested form or in the form in which it is available, unless within 30 days the requestor writes to the officer stating that the requestor wants the information in the requested form according to the time and cost parameters set out in the officer's statement or that the requestor wants the information in the form in which it is available.  If a requestor does not make a timely written response, the requestor is considered to have withdrawn the request for information.

Processing of Requests

The public information officer shall establish policies that assure the expeditious and accurate processing of requests for information that require programming or manipulation of data.  The Board shall maintain a readily accessible file containing all written statements issued concerning requests for information that require programming or manipulation of data.

Gov't Code 552.231

Repetitious or Redundant Requests

If the officer determines that a requestor has made a request for information for which the School has previously furnished or made copies available to the requestor on payment of applicable charges, the officer shall respond to the request for information for which copies have been already furnished or made available, except that:

  1. The School is not prohibited from furnishing the information or making the information available to the requestor again in accordance with the request; and
  2. The School is not required to comply with the procedures described below in relation to information that the School simply furnishes or makes available to the requestor again in accordance with the request.

Gov’t Code 552.232(a)

Information for which the School has not previously furnished copies or made copies available to the requestor on payment of applicable charges, information that was redacted from information provided earlier, or that did not exist at the time of an earlier request, shall be treated in the same manner as any other request for public information.

Gov’t Code 552.232(d)

Procedures

The officer shall, free of charge, certify to the requestor that copies of all or part of the requested

information were previously furnished or made available to the requestor on payment of applicable charges.  The certification must include:

  1. A description of the information for which copies have been previously furnished or made available to the requestor.
  2. The date that the School received the requestor's original request for that information.
  3. The date that the School previously furnished copies of or made available copies of the information to the requestor.
  4. A certification that no subsequent additions, deletions, or corrections have been made to that information; and
  5. The name, title, and signature of the officer for public information or the officer's agent making the certification.

Gov't Code 552.232(b),(c)

ATTORNEY GENERAL DECISIONS

If the School receives a written request, including a request that is sent by electronic mail or facsimile transmission if that request is sent to a superintendent or designee, for information it wishes to withhold from public disclosure and that it considers to be within one of the exceptions to required disclosure, but for which there has been no previous determination that it falls within one of the exceptions, the School, not later than the tenth business day after receiving the written request, shall ask for a decision from the attorney general about whether the information is within one of the exceptions and state the exception that applies.  If a decision from the attorney general is not so requested or the School fails to provide the requestor with the statement and a copy of the School’s communications to the attorney general, as described below, the information is presumed to be public information and must be released unless there is a compelling reason to withhold it. Gov't Code 552.301(a), (b), (c), 552.302

The School may only request an open records decision from the attorney general if the School reasonably believes that the requested information is excepted from required disclosure.  The School must promptly produce the requested information to the requestor.  Tex. Atty. Gen. ORD-665 (2000)

Calculating Timelines

For the purposes of Government Code sections 552.301-.308, if TSBVI receives a written request by United State mail and cannot adequately establish the actual date of receipt, the request is considered to have been received on the third business day after the date of the postmark on a properly addressed request.  Gov’t Code 552.301(a-1)

When Government Code sections 552.301-.308 require a request, notice, or other document to be submitted or otherwise given to the attorney general within a specified period, the requirement is met in a timely fashion if TSBVI submits the document through the attorney general’s designated electronic filing system within that period.  This provision does not affect the right of the School to submit information to the attorney general by mail under Government Code 552.308.

When the attorney general is required to deliver a notice, decision, or other document within a specified period, the requirement is met in a timely fashion if the attorney general electronically transmits the document within that period.

Gov’t Code 552.309

Previous Determinations

Same Information

Except as set forth at Government Code section 552.301(g), TSBVI may not request an attorney general decision if the School has previously requested and received a determination from the attorney general concerning the precise information at issue in a pending request and the attorney general or a court determined that the information is not within one of the exceptions.  This exception applies to specific information that is again requested from the School after the attorney general has previously issued a decision regarding the precise information or records at issue. Gov’t Code 552.301(f); Tex. Atty. Gen. ORD 673 (2001)

Categories of Information

TSBVI may rely on a previous determination by the attorney general regarding a specific, clearly delineated category of information if:

  1. The previous decision is applicable to a school district or state agency;
  2. The previous decision concludes that the category of information is or is not excepted from public disclosure;
  3. The elements of law, fact, and circumstances are met to support the previous decision’s conclusion that the requested records and information at issue are or are not excepted from public disclosure; and
  4. The previous decision explicitly provides that the governmental body or bodies to which the decision applies may withhold the information without the necessity of seeking a decision from the attorney general.

Tex. Atty. Gen ORD 673 (2001)

If TSBVI relies on any previous determination to withhold information from disclosure it should notify the requestor in writing of the decision or ruling upon which it is relying.

TSBVI may withhold from public disclosure the categories of records listed at Texas Attorney General Open Records Decision 684 (2009).

Tex. Atty. Gen. ORD 684 (2209)

TSBVI may withhold from public disclosure personally identifiable, non-directory information in “education records” as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (“FERPA”), 20 U.S.C. 1232g [see FL].  Tex Atty. Gen. ORD 634 (1995)

The School must promptly release public information not excepted from required disclosure.  The prompt release of information requires release as soon as possible under the circumstances and within a reasonable time, without delay.  The School may not automatically withhold for ten business days public information not excepted from disclosure.  Tex. Atty. Gen. ORD-664 (2000)

Statement to Requestor

If the School requests an attorney general decision, it must provide to the requestor within a reasonable time but not later than the tenth business day after the date of receiving the requestor's written request:

  1. A written statement that the School wishes to withhold the requested information and has asked for a decision from the attorney general about whether the information is within an exception to public disclosure; and
  2. A copy of the School’s written communication to the attorney general asking for the decision.

If the School’s written communication to the attorney general discloses the requested information, the School shall provide a redacted copy of that written communication to the requestor.

Gov't Code 552.301(d)

Submission to Attorney General

When the School requests an attorney general decision, it shall, within a reasonable time but not later than the 15th business day after the date of receiving the request for information, submit to the attorney general all of the following:

  1. Written comments stating the reasons why the stated exceptions apply that would allow the information to be withheld;
  2. A copy of the written request for information;
  3. A signed statement as to the date on which the written request for information was received by the School or evidence sufficient to establish that date; and
  4. A copy of the specific information requested, or representative samples of the information, if a voluminous amount of information was requested. These copies must be labeled to indicate which exceptions apply to which parts of the copy.

Unless the information is confidential by law, the officer may disclose the requested information to the public or the requestor before a final determination that the information is public has been made by the attorney general or a court with jurisdiction. Gov’t Code 552.303(a)

TSBVI shall send a copy of the comments to the requestor not later than the 15th business day after the School receives the written request.   If the written comments disclose or contain the substance of the information requested, the copy of the comments provided to the requestor shall be redacted.

Gov’t Code 552.301(e), (e-1)

Failure to Raise Exceptions Before Attorney General

If the School files suit seeking to withhold information, the School may raise only those exceptions to required disclosure that the School properly raised before the attorney general in connection with a request for a decision by the attorney general, unless the exceptions raised by the School in its suit seeking to withhold information are required by federal law or involve property of privacy interests of another person.  Gov’t Code 552.326

The district shall send a copy of the comments to the requestor not later than the 15th business day after the district receives the written request.  If the written comments disclose or contain the substance of the information requested, the copy of the comments provided to the requestor shall be redacted.

Gov’t Code 552.301(e), (e-1)

Unless the information is confidential by law, the district may disclose the requested information to the public or the requestor before a final determination that the information is public has been made by the attorney general or a court with jurisdiction.  Gov’t Code 552.303(a)

Additional Information

If the attorney general determines that additional information is necessary to render a decision, the attorney general shall give the School and the requestor written notice of that fact.  Upon receipt of such notice, the officer shall submit the necessary additional information to the attorney general not later than the seventh calendar day after the date the notice is received.  If the officer does not comply with the attorney general's request for additional information, the information is presumed to be subject to required public disclosure and must be released unless there is a compelling reason to withhold the information.

Gov't Code  552.303(c)-(e)

When submitting written comments to the attorney general stating the reasons why the stated exceptions apply, the School shall send a copy of those comments to the person who requested the information from the School.  If the written comments disclose or contain the substance of the information requested, the copy of the comments provided to the requestor must be a redacted copy.

Gov't Code 552.301(e-1)

Privacy or Property Interests

When information is requested and a person's privacy or property interests may be involved, including a case under Government Code 552.101 (confidential by law), 552.104 (competitive bidding), 552.110 (trade secrets), and 552.114 (student records), the School may decline to release the information for the purpose of requesting a decision from the attorney general.  The School may, but is not required to, submit its reasons why the information should be withheld or released.  Gov’t Code 552.305(a)-(c)

Notice to Owner of Proprietary Information

If release of a person's proprietary information may be subject to exception under Government Code 552.101, 552.110, 552.113, or 552.131, and the School requests an attorney general decision, the School shall make a good faith attempt to notify that person of its request for the attorney general decision.  The notice must include a copy of any written request the School received for the information and a statement, in the form prescribed by the attorney general, that the person is entitled to submit to the attorney general, not later than the tenth business day after the person receives the notice, a written statement of the reason(s) why the information should be withheld and a letter, memorandum, or brief supporting the reason(s). Gov't Code 552.305(d)

COSTS AND CHARGES

The charge for providing a copy of public information shall be an amount that reasonably includes all costs related to reproducing the information, including costs of materials, labor, and overhead.  The charges shall not be excessive and shall not exceed the actual cost of producing the information or for making public information that exists in a paper record available.

Charges for providing a copy of public information are considered to accrue at the time TSBVI advises the requestor that the copy is available on payment of the applicable charges.

50 Pages or Less

If a request is 50 or fewer pages of paper records, the charge for providing the copy of the information shall be limited to the charge for each page of the paper record that is photocopied unless the pages to be photocopied are located in two or more separate buildings that are not physically connected with each other or a remote storage facility.  The charge for providing a copy may not include costs of materials, labor, or overhead.

Statement of Labor Costs

If the charge for providing a copy of public information includes costs of labor, the requestor may require the public information officer to provide the requestor with a written statement as to the amount of time that was required to produce and provide the copy.  The statement must be signed by the officer and the officer or agent’s name must be typed or legibly printed below the signature.  A charge may not be imposed for providing the written statement to the requestor.

All requests received in one calendar day from an individual may be treated as a single request for purposes of calculating costs.  TSBVI may not combine multiple requests form separate individuals who submit requests on behalf of an organization.

Gov’t Code 552.261,.262(a)

Attorney General’s Rules

TSBVI shall use the attorney general’s rules to determine the charges for providing copies of public information and to determine the charge, deposit, or bond required for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection, except to the extent that other law provides for charges for specific kinds of public information.  [See GBAA (EXHIBIT)]

TSBVI may determine its own charges for providing copies of public information and its own charge, deposit, or bond for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection. However, the School may not charge an amount that is greater than 25 percent more than the amount established by the attorney general unless the School requests an exemption. Gov’t Code 552.261, 552.262; 1 TAC 111.61(b)

Exemptions

The School may request that it be exempt from part or all of the rules adopted by the attorney general for determining charges for providing copies of public information or the charge, deposit, or bond required for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection.  The request must be made in writing to the attorney general and must state the reason for the exemption.  If the attorney general determines that good cause exists, the attorney general shall grant the exemption by giving written notice of the determination within 90 days of the request.  When it receives the notification, the School may amend its charges for providing copies of public information or its charge, deposit, or bond required for making public information that exists in a paper record available for inspection according to the terms of the attorney general's determination.  Gov't Code 552.262(c)

Copies for Parents

The School may charge a reasonable fee in accordance with the above requirements for copies of materials provided to parents pursuant to Education Code Chapter 26.  Education Code 26.012

Statement of Estimated Charges

If a request for a copy of public information or a request to inspect a paper record will result in the imposition of a charge that exceeds $40, the School shall provide the requestor with a written itemized statement that details all estimated charges that will be imposed, including any allowable charges for labor or personnel costs.  If an alternative less costly method of viewing the records is available, the statement must include a notice that the requestor may contact the School regarding the alternative method.  The School must inform the requestor of the responsibilities imposed on the requestor by this section and the rights granted by this entire section and give the requestor the information needed to respond as detailed in Government Code 552.2615(a).

If, after the School provides the requestor the itemized statement but before it makes the copy or the paper record available, the School determines that the estimated charges will exceed the charges detailed in the original itemized statement by 20 percent or more, the School shall send to the requestor an updated written itemized statement that details all estimated charges that will be imposed, including any allowable charges for labor or personnel costs.

Requestor's Response

A request for which the School is required to produce an (original or updated) itemized statement of estimated charges is considered to have been withdrawn if the requestor does not respond in writing to the itemized statement by informing the School within ten business days after the date the statement is sent to the requestor that:

  1. The requestor will accept the estimated charges.
  2. The requestor is modifying the request in response to the itemized statement; or
  3. The requestor has sent to the attorney general a complaint alleging that the requestor has been overcharged for being provided with a copy of the public information.

Actual Charges

If the actual charges that School imposes for a copy or inspection of public information exceed $40, the charges may not exceed:

  1. The amount estimated in the updated itemized statement; or
  2. If an updated itemized statement is not sent to the requestor, an amount that exceeds by 20 percent or more the amount estimated in the original itemized statement.

Timing of Deadlines

An original or updated itemized statement is considered to have been sent by the School, and a requestor is considered to have responded to the statement, on the date that the statement or response is:

  1. Delivered in person;
  2. Deposited, properly addressed, in the U.S. mail; or
  3. Transmitted by electronic mail or facsimile, provided the requestor agrees to receive the statement by those means.

The time deadlines for providing the required statement of estimated charges do not affect the application of a time deadline imposed on the School for requesting a decision by the attorney general under Government Code 552, Subchapter G.

Gov't Code 552.2615

Deposit or Bond/Triggers Timeline

For the purposes of charging for providing copies of public information or for requesting an attorney general's opinion, if the School requires a deposit or bond from the requestor, a request for a copy of public information is considered to have been received by the School on the date it receives the deposit or bond for payment of anticipated costs or unpaid amounts.  A requestor who fails to make such a deposit or post such a bond before the tenth day after the date the deposit or bond is required is considered to have withdrawn the request.  Gov't Code 552.263(e), (f)

Modified Request

If a requestor modifies a request in response to the requirement of a deposit or bond, the modified request is considered a separate request and is considered received on the date the School receives the written modified request.  Gov’t Code 552.263(c)(e-1)

Unpaid Amounts

The public information officer or agent may require a deposit or bond for payment of anticipated costs for the preparation of a copy of public information if the public information officer has provided the requestor with the required written itemized statement detailing the estimated charge for providing the copy and if the charge for providing the copy of the public information specifically requested by the requestor is estimated by the School to exceed $100.  The public information officer or agent may not require a deposit or bond be paid as a down payment for copies of future information that the requestor may request in the future.  Gov't Code 552.263(a), (b)

If TSBVI receives a request from a requestor who, within the preceding 180 days, has accepted but failed to pay written itemized statements of estimated charges from TSBVI as provided under Government Code 552.2661 (b) may require the requestor to pay the estimated charges for the request before the request is fulfilled.  Gov’t Code 552.2661

The public information officer agent may require a deposit or bond for payment of unpaid amounts the requestor owes the School in relation to previous public information requests before preparing a copy of public information in response to a new request if those unpaid amounts exceed $100.  The officer for public information or the officer's agent may not seek payment of those unpaid amounts through any other means.  Gov't Code 552.263(c)

The School must fully document the existence and amount of those unpaid amounts or the amount of any anticipated costs before requiring a deposit or bond under this section.  The documentation is subject to required public disclosure.  Gov't Code 552.263(d)

Waivers

If the cost to the School of processing the collection of a charge for providing a copy of public information will exceed the amount of the charge, the Superintendent may waive the charge.  If the Superintendent determines that waiver or reduction of the charge is in the public interest because providing the copy of the information primarily benefits the general public, the Superintendent may waive or reduce the charge for a copy of public information.  Gov't Code 552.267

Government Publication

The cost provisions described above do not apply to a publication that is compiled and printed by or for the School for public dissemination.  If the cost of the publication is not determined by state law, the School may determine the charge for providing the publication, or it may provide the publication free of charge, if state law does not require a certain charge.  Gov't Code 552.270

INSPECTION OF PUBLIC INFORMATION

If the requestor does not request a copy of public information, the School may not impose a charge for making available for inspection any public information that exists in a paper record.  Gov’t Code 552.271(a)

Redaction of Confidential Information

If a page contains confidential information that must be edited from the record before the information can be made available for inspection, the School may charge for the cost of making a photocopy of the page from which the confidential information must be edited.  No charge other than the cost of the photocopy may be imposed.  Gov't Code 552.271(b)

Payment, Deposit or Bond

The public information officer may require a requestor to pay, or to make a deposit or post a bond for the payment of, anticipated personnel costs for making available for inspection public information that exists in paper records only if:

  1. The public information specifically requested by the requestor is older than five years or completely fills, or when assembled will completely fill, six or more archival boxes; and
  2. The officer for public information or the officer's agent estimates that more than five hours will be required to make the public information available for inspection.

Gov't Code 552.271(c)

Electronic Records

If the School receives a request to inspect information that exists in an electronic medium and the information is not available directly on-line to the requestor, a charge may not be imposed for access to the information unless complying with the request will require programming or manipulation of data. If programming or manipulation of data is required, the public information officer shall notify the requestor before assembling the information and provide the requestor with an estimate of charges that will be imposed.

If public information exists in an electronic form on a computer owned or leased by the School, and the public has access to that information through a computer network or other means, the electronic form of the information may be electronically copied from that computer without charge if accessing the information does not require processing, programming, or manipulation on the School’s computer before the information is copied.  If such information does require processing, programming, or manipulation before it can be copied, the public information officer may impose charges.

If the School creates or keeps information in an electronic form, it is encouraged to explore options to separate confidential information from public information and make the public information available to the public through electronic access through a computer network or other means.

Gov't Code 552.272

PRESERVATION OF RECORDS

The Superintendent shall determine a time for which information that is not currently in use will be preserved, subject to any applicable rule or law governing the destruction and other disposition of local government records or public information.  Gov't Code 552.004

The Board shall preserve the certified agenda or tape recording of a closed meeting for at least two years after the date of the meeting.  If an action involving the meeting is brought within that period, the certified agenda or tape recording shall be preserved while the action is pending.  Gov't Code 551.104(a)

The certified agenda or recording of a closed meeting is only available to the public under a court order.  Gov’t Code 551.104(b)(3), (c)

FILING SUIT TO WITHHOLD INFORMATION

The Board or officer for public information may file suit in Travis County district court seeking to withhold information, but the requestor may not be named as a party to that action.  The Board or officer for public information must demonstrate to the court that the board or officer made a timely good faith effort to inform the requestor, by certified mail or other method of written notice that requires the return of a receipt, of:

  1. The existence of the suit, including the subject matter, the cause number, and the court in which the suit is filed.
  2. The requestor's right to intervene in the suit or to choose not to participate.
  3. The fact that the suit is against the attorney general.
  4. The address and phone number of the office of the attorney general.

To preserve an affirmative defense for the School’s Public Information Officer, the court case must be filed no later than the 10th calendar day after receipt of the attorney general’s decision, otherwise, suit must be files no later than the 30th calendar day after receipt of the attorney general’s decision.

Gov't Code 552.324, 552.325, 552.353(b)(3)

PARENT'S REQUEST FOR INFORMATION

If the School seeks to withhold information from a parent who has requested public information relating to the parent's child under Chapter 552, Government Code, and files suit as described by Government Code 552.324 to challenge a decision by the attorney general, the School must bring the suit not later than the 30th calendar day after the date the School receives the decision of the attorney general.

A court shall grant such a suit precedence over other pending matters to ensure prompt resolution of the subject matter of the suit.  Notwithstanding any other law, the School may not appeal the decision of a court in such a suit challenging a ruling of the attorney general.  This prohibition does not affect the right of a parent to appeal the decision.  If the School does not bring suit within the period established, the School shall comply with the decision of the attorney general.

If the School receives a request from a parent for public information relating to the parent's child, the

School shall comply with Chapter 552, Government Code.  If an earlier deadline for bringing suit is established under Chapter 552, Government Code, this rule does not apply.

Education Code 26.0085

Frequent Requests

Personnel Time

TSBVI may establish reasonable monthly and yearly limits on the amount of time that School employees are required to spend producing public information for inspection or duplication by a requestor, or providing copies of public information to a requestor, without recovering its costs attributable to that personnel time.  A yearly time limit may not be less than 36 hours for a requestor during the 12-month period that corresponds to TSBVI’s fiscal year.  A monthly time limit may not be less than 15 hours for a requestor for a one-month period.

Request by Minor

Any time spent complying with a request submitted in the name of a minor, as defined by Family Code 101.003(a), is to be included in the calculation of the cumulative amount of time spent complying with a request for public information by a parent, guardian, or other person who has control of the minor under a court order and with whom the minor resides, unless that parent, guardian, or other person establishes that another person submitted that request in the name of the minor.

Exception

This section does not apply if the requestor is an individual who, for a substantial portion of the individual’s livelihood or for substantial financial gain, gathers, compiles, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, investigates, processes, or publishes news or information for and is seeking the information for:

  1. Dissemination by a news medium or communication service provider, including;
    1. An individual who supervises or assists in gathering, preparing, and disseminating the news or information; or
    2. An individual who is or was a journalist, scholar, or researcher employed by an institution of higher education at the time the person made the request for information; or
  2. Creation or maintenance of an abstract plant as described by Insurance Code 2501.004.

“Communication service provider” has the meaning assigned by Civil Practice and Remedies Code 22.021

“News medium” means a newspaper, magazine or periodical, a book publisher, a news agency, a wire service, an FCC-licensed radio or television station or a network of such stations, a cable, satellite, or other transmission system or carrier or channel, or a channel or programming service for a station, network, system, or carrier, or an audio or audiovisual production company or Internet company or provider, or the corporate parent, subsidiary, division, or affiliate of that entity, that disseminates news or information to the public by any means, including:

  1. Print;
  2. Television;
  3. Radio;
  4. Photographic;
  5. Mechanical;
  6. Electronic; and
  7. Other means, known or unknown, that are accessible to the public.

This section also does not apply if the requestor is an elected official of the United States, this state, or a political subdivision of this state or a representative of a publicly funded legal services organization that is a federal tax exempt entity under Section 501(c)(3), Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

Written Statement of Personnel Time

If TSBVI establishes a time limit, each time the School complies with a request for public information, TSBVI shall provide the requestor with a written statement of the amount of personnel time spent complying with that request and the cumulative amount of time spent complying with the requests for public information from the requestor during the applicable monthly or yearly period.  The amount of time spent preparing the written statement may not be included in the amount of time in the statement.

Written Estimate of Charges

If the cumulative amount of personnel time spent complying with requests for public information from the same requestor equals or exceeds the established time limit, TSBVI shall provide the requestor with a written estimate of the total cost, including materials, personnel time, and overhead expenses, necessary to comply with the request.  The School shall provide the written estimate on or before the tenth day after the date on which the request was made.  The amount of this charge relating to the cost of locating, compiling, and producing the public information shall be established by rules prescribed by the attorney general.

When a request is made by a requestor who has made a previous request to TSBVI that has not been withdrawn, for which the School has located and compiled documents in response, and for which TSBVI has issued a written estimate of charges that remains unpaid on the date the requestor submits the new request, the School is not required to locate, compile, produce, or provide copies of documents or prepare an estimate of charges in response to a new request until the date the requestor pays each unpaid statement issued in connection with a previous request or withdraws the previous request to which the statement applies.

Additional Time

If TSBVI provides the requestor with written notice that additional time is required to prepare the written estimate, the School must provide the written estimate as soon as practicable, but on or before the tenth day after the date TSBVI provided the notice that additional time was required.

Acceptance of Charges

If TSBVI provides a requestor with the estimate of charges and the time limits regarding the requestor have been exceeded, the School is not required to produce public information for inspection or duplication or to provide copies of public information in response to the requestor’s request unless on or before the tenth day after the date provided the written estimate, the requestor submits payment of the amount stated in the written estimate.

If the requestor fails or refuses to submit payment, the requestor is considered to have withdrawn the request.

Waived or Reduced Charges

This section does not prohibit the School from providing a copy of public information without charge or at a reduced rate, or from waiving a charge for providing a copy of public information, under Government Code 552.267 [see Waivers, above].

Gov’t Code 552.275

Adopted:         1/26/07

Amended:       6/1/18

Reviewed:

GUIDELINES FOR COPY CHARGES

The charges in this exhibit, to recover costs associated with providing copies of public information, are based on estimated average costs to governmental bodies across the state.

Copy charges are as follows:

  1. Standard-paper copy. The charge for standard-paper copies reproduced by means of an office machine copier or a computer printer is $.10 per page or part of a page. Each side that has recorded information is considered a page.
  2. Nonstandard-size copy. The charges for nonstandard copies are:
    1. Diskette - $1.00
    2. Magnetic tape - actual cost
    3. Data cartridge - actual cost
    4. Tape cartridge - actual cost
    5. Rewritable CD (CD-RW) - $1.00
    6. Non-rewritable CD (CD-R) - $1.00
    7. Digital video disc (DVD) - $3.00
    8. JAZ drive - actual cost
    9. Other electronic media - actual cost
    10. VHS video cassette - $2.50
    11. Audio cassette - $1.00
    12. Oversize paper copy (e.g., 11" x 17", greenbar, bluebar, not including maps and photographs using specialty paper) - $.50
    13. Specialty paper (e.g., Mylar, blueprint, blueline, map, photographic) - actual cost

Personnel charges are as follows:

  1. If a particular request requires the services of a programmer in order to execute an existing program or to create a new program so that requested information may be accessed and copied, a district may charge for the programmer's time. The hourly charge for a programmer is $28.50 an hour, which includes fringe benefits. Only programming services will be charged at this hourly rate. Districts that do not have in-house programming capabilities will comply with requests in accordance with Government Code 552.231. [See CQ]
  2. The charge for labor costs incurred in processing a request for public information is $15.00 an hour, which includes fringe benefits. The labor charge includes the actual time to locate, compile, and reproduce the requested information.
  3. 3. A labor charge will not be billed in connection with complying with requests that are for 50 or fewer pages of paper records, unless the documents to be copied are located in two or more separate buildings that are not physically connected to each other or a remote storage facility. For purposes of this provision, two buildings connected by a covered or open sidewalk, an elevated or underground passageway, or a similar facility, are not considered to be separate buildings.
  4. A labor charge should not be recovered for any time spent by an attorney, legal assistant, or any other person who reviews the requested information:
    1. To determine whether a district will raise any exceptions to disclosure of the requested information under Government Code, Subchapter C, Chapter 552; or
    2. To research or prepare a request for a ruling by the attorney general's office pursuant to section 552.301 of Government Code. [See CQ]
  5. When confidential information pursuant to a mandatory exception of the Act is mixed with public information in the same page, a labor charge may be recovered for time spent to redact, blackout, or otherwise obscure confidential information in order to release the public information. A labor charge will not be made for redacting confidential information for requests of 50 or fewer pages, unless the request also qualifies as a labor charge pursuant to Government Code 552.261(a)(1) or (2).

Overhead charges are as follows:

  1. Whenever any labor charge is applicable to a request, a district may include the charges direct and indirect costs, in addition to the specific labor charge. This overhead charge would cover such costs as depreciation of capital assets, rent, maintenance and repair, utilities, and administrative overhead. If a district chooses to recover such costs, a charge will be made in accordance with the methodology described in item 3 below. Although an exact calculation of costs will vary, the use of a standard charge will avoid complication in calculating such costs and will provide uniformity for charges made statewide.
  2. An overhead charge will not be made for requests for copies of 50 or fewer pages of standard paper records unless the request also qualifies for a labor charge pursuant to Government Code 552.261(a)(1) or (2).
  3. The overhead charge will be computed at 20 percent of the charge made to cover any labor costs associated with a particular request. For example, if one hour of labor is used for a particular request, the formula would be as follows:

    Labor charge for locating, compiling, and reproducing, $15.00 x .20 = $3.00; or programming labor charge, $28.50 x .20 = $5.70. If a request requires one hour of labor charge for locating, compiling, and reproducing information ($15.00 per hour); and one hour of programming labor charge ($28.50 per hour), the combined overhead would be: $15.00 + $28.50 = $43.50 x .20 = $8.70.

Microfiche and microfilm charges are as follows:

  1. If a district already has information that exists on microfiche or microfilm and has copies available for sale or distribution, the charge for a copy must not exceed the cost of its reproduction. If no copies of the requested microfiche or microfilm are available and the information on the fiche or film can be released in its entirety, a district should make a copy of the fiche or film. The charge for a copy must not exceed the cost of reproduction. Districts that do not have in-house capability to reproduce microfiche or microfilm are encouraged to contact the Texas State Library before having the reproduction made commercially.
  2. If only a master copy of information in microform is maintained, the charge is $.10 per page for standard-size paper copies plus any applicable labor and overhead charge for more than 50 copies.

Remote document retrieval charges are as follows:

  1. Due to limited on-site capacity of storage of documents, it is frequently necessary to store information that is not in current use in remote storage locations. Every effort should be made by a district to store current records on-site. To the extent that the retrieval of documents results in a charge to comply with a request, it is permissible to recover costs of such services for requests that qualify for labor charges under current law.
  2. If a district has a contract with a commercial records storage company, whereby the private company charges a fee to locate, retrieve, deliver, and return to storage the needed record(s), no additional labor charge will be factored in for time spent locating documents at the storage location by the private company's personnel. If after delivery to a district, the boxes must still be searched for records that are responsive to the request, a labor charge is allowed in accordance with item 2 under personnel charges, above.

Computer resource charges are as follows:

  1. The computer resource charge is a utilization charge for computers based on the amortized cost of acquisition, lease, operation, and maintenance of computer resources, which might include, but is not limited to, some or all of the following: central processing units (CPUs), servers, disk drives, local area networks (LANs), printers, tape drives, other peripheral devices, communications devices, software, and system utilities.
  2. These computer resource charges are not intended to substitute for cost recovery methodologies or charges made for purposes other than responding to public information requests.
  3. The charges in this section are averages based on a survey of governmental bodies with a broad range of computer capabilities. Each district using this cost recovery charge will determine which category(ies) of computer system(s) used to fulfill the public information request most closely fits its existing system(s) and set its charge accordingly:
    Type of System
    Rate
    Mainframe $10.00 per CPU minute
    Midsize $ 1.50 per CPU minute
    Client/Server $ 2.20 per clock hour
    PC or LAN $ 1.00 per clock hour
  4. The charge made to recover the computer utilization cost is the actual time the computer takes to execute a particular program times the applicable rate. The CPU charge is not meant to apply to programming or printing time; rather, it is solely to recover costs associated with the actual time required by the computer to execute a program. This time, called CPU time, can be read directly from the CPU clock, and most frequently will be a matter of seconds. If programming is required to comply with a particular request, the appropriate charge that may be recovered for programming time is described above, at Personnel Charges. No charge should be made for computer print-out time. For example, if a mainframe computer is used, and the processing time is 20 seconds, the charges would be as follows: $10.00 / 3 = $3.33; or $10.00/(60 / 20) = $3.33.

A district that does not have in-house computer capabilities will comply with requests in accordance with Government Code 552.231. [See CQ]

The actual cost of miscellaneous supplies, such as labels, boxes, and other supplies used to produce the requested information may be added to the total charge for public information.

Governmental bodies may add any related postal or shipping expenses that are necessary to transmit the reproduced information to the requesting party.

Pursuant to Office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts' rules, sales tax will not be added on charges for public information. (34 TAC, Part 1, Chapter 3, Subchapter O, Sections 3.341 and 3.342).

1 TAC 111.63; 111.70

Adopted: 9/29/95

Amended: 11/14/97, 5/28/03, 11/18/05

Reviewed: 11/21/03

 

INITIATING CONTACTS WITH THE NEWS MEDIA

It is the intent of the Board to promote positive interactions with the news media.  The Board delegates to the Superintendent or his/her designee the responsibility of initiating contacts with the media to increase the community’s knowledge about the mission of the School.

TSBVI staff members shall communicate their ideas for initiating positive contacts with the media to their supervisor, who will forward them to the Superintendent.

RESPONDING TO REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION

The Board delegates to the Superintendent or his/her designee the responsibility of responding to requests for information about TSBVI from the news media.

TSBVI staff members shall refer any requests for information from the news media to their supervisor, who will forward them to the Superintendent.

EMERGENCIES ON THE CAMPUS OR AT SCHOOL-RELATED ACTIVITIES OFF-CAMPUS

In the case of any type of emergency that may bring news media to the campus of TSBVI or to other locations of school-related activities, staff members shall refer all questions from the news media to the Superintendent or his/her designee who shall be the official spokesperson for TSBVI.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Staff members are not prohibited from communicating with the media in cases in which the staff member only represents his or her opinion as opposed to acting as, or appearing to act as, the School’s representative.  However, under no circumstances should any personal information about students be communicated to the news media.

Adopted: 11/15/96

Amended: 9/29/17

Reviewed: 3/21/03

PARENT-TEACHER ORGANIZATIONS

The Board shall cooperate in the establishment of ongoing operations of at least one parent-teacher organization at the School to promote parental involvement in school activities. Education Code 26.001(e)

Adopted: 7/17/92
Amended: 1/29/93, 3/22/96, 9/26/97, 3/21/03
Reviewed: 11/15/96

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