Texas Teachers and School Employees To Be Able To Regain Respect [This bill] gives teachers the same anti-harassment rights that students have.

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Aug 2, 2019 No Comments ›› admin

By Donna Garner

An excellent bill — SB 2432 — was passed somewhat unnoticed by the Texas Legislature and then signed by Gov. Greg Abbott on 6.10.19. This bill goes into effect for this 2019-20 school year and gives Texas public school teachers (i.e., school employees) much wider latitude to bring discipline back to their classrooms.

As a classroom teacher for more than 33 years, I have always said that there are two all-important conditions which must be in place before academic improvement can occur; and they must be in this order:

(1) consistent discipline and

(2) quality, traditional/fact-based/academic curriculum.

SB 2432 (https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=86R&Bill=SB2432#) deals with the first and most important condition – consistent discipline.

Thornton Elementary in Temple, Texas on August 2, 2019 (Photo: Lynn Woolley)

This bill gives teachers the authority to remove students from their classrooms and to send them to disciplinary alternative education programs (DAEP) if they commit the following offenses either on campus, within 300 feet from school property, and/or while they are attending a school-sponsored or school-related activity on or off school property. These offenses include felonies, assaults, selling/giving/delivering marijuana, drugs, alcohol, volatile chemicals, public lewdness, etc.

However, SB 2432 does much more.

It now puts into statute that students can be removed to the DAEP if they engage in “conduct that contains the elements of the offense of harassment under Section 42.07(a)(1), (2), (3), or (7), Penal Code, against an employee of the school district.”

This addition to the statute is huge because it now gives teachers (i.e., school employees) the same anti-harassment rights that students have.

Under SB 2432, teachers (i.e., school employees) now have the ability to remove students to DAEP who make obscene comments to them, who threaten them with bodily harm, who harass them with phone calls, and/or who make obscene/lewd comments about them on social media, etc.

Additionally, these same offenses can be enforced if students commit them either on campus, within 300 feet from school property, and/or while they are attending a school-sponsored or school-related activity on or off school property.

SB 2432 will go a long way to help teachers (i.e., school employees) regain their place as the authority figures in the classroom so that they are better able to maintain a well-disciplined setting in which all students (and now teachers and school employees) can feel safe and respected. Once that atmosphere is in place, academic proficiency is much more likely to occur.

“Thank you, Texas Legislators, for helping to restore order and discipline to our Texas public schools.”

Wgarner1@hot.rr.com

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