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    General Inquiry - General Questions FAQ

    This section answers questions on general school and education issues. 

    1. Where can an administrator find updated information on attendance and school admission codes?   
    2. What can be done if an educator has engaged in conduct that appears to be unethical?    
    3. Can the Commissioner of Education change the Texas Education Code?     
    4. Does Texas have a ruling on transporting homeless students across school district boundaries and county lines?  
    5. Is Kindergarten required in Texas?  
    6. What is the state law on prayer or moment of silence in Texas public schools?
    7. Are parents allowed to request certain teachers for their children because they like that teacher or because they want their child in a particular class with their friends? Please clarify Texas Education Code statute 26.003 section 2 and 3. 
    8.  I need to know my rights as a parent for visiting the school during school hours?
    9. What is the education law that states how many days of school students are expected to attend and how many days they can miss before they are held back? 
    10.  May an absence be deemed excused but still be used to file truancy charges?
        

    1. Where can an administrator find updated information on attendance and school admission codes?
      This information can be found in the Texas Education Code, however it is summarized in the Administrator's Letter
        
    2. What can be done if an educator has engaged in conduct that appears to be unethical?  
      Educators must adhere to the Educator's Code of Ethics, which can be found in Title 19, Chapter 247 of the Texas Administrative Code. The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) is responsible for enforcing the ethics code. If you believe an educator has violated the Code of Ethics, a report can be made to SBEC through their complaint process. [top]
        
    3. Can the Commissioner of Education change the Texas Education Code?  
      No, the Texas Legislature changes the Texas Education Code. The Texas Education Agency implements the code as directed by the Legislature.  [top]
        
    4. Does Texas have a ruling on transporting homeless students across school district boundaries and county lines? 
      Amendments to the McKinney Act in the No Child Left Behind bill require a district to transport a student to the "school of origin" attended before the student became homeless (42 USC 11432(g)(1)(J)). There are other provisions that allow a change of campus assignment (42 USC 11432(g)(3)), though they are very deferential to the parent's preferences. These are requirements of accepting federal funds; it does not matter that the transportation crosses district or county lines (there are no state laws that prohibit either). McKinney questions can be addressed to the agency at 512-463-9357; transportation questions at 512-463-9237.
      More information on homeless education in Texas can be found at the Texas Homeless Education Office at the University of Texas at Austin.  [top]
        
    5. Is Kindergarten required in Texas?
      A child is not required to attend school unless he or she is at least six (6) years old on September 1 of the school year. Enrollment in Kindergarten is not required. However, if a child is enrolled in Kindergarten, regular attendance is required. If the child has too many unexcused absences while enrolled, compulsory attendance charges may be filed. A parent who enrolls a child in Kindergarten may choose to withdraw the child at any time during the school year.  [top]
        
    6. What is the state law on prayer or moment of silence in Texas public schools?
      State law recognizes the right of individual students to pray in a nondisruptive manner (Section 25.901, Texas Education Code). A school district may provide for a period of silence at the beginning of the school day (Section 25.082, Texas Education Code). There are constitutional restrictions on the ability of school districts to actively participate in activities that amount to religious observances. [top]
        
    7. Are parents allowed to request certain teachers for their children because they like that teacher or because they want their child in a particular class with their friends? Please clarify Texas Education Code statute 26.003 section 2 and 3.
      TEC Section 26.003(a) (2) is an entitlement to access to the administrator for the purpose of making a request. It is not an entitlement to unilaterally move the parent's child, it is just to talk to the right person. Note that the section recognizes that need to balance the effects of an assignment on other students. School districts can consider the overall makeup of classes when assigning each student.
      TEC Section 26.003(a) (3) is more strongly worded, requiring that a district's action denying those requests must be "reasonable". That is still a deferential legal standard, generally meaning if the district has a logical reason, it would be upheld.  [top]
        
    8. I need to know my rights as a parent for visiting the school during school hours?
      There is no express right to visit a school, though most, of course, welcome parents. Depending on the security concerns appropriate to the school, most will require a sign-in or sometimes advance notice. Many will not allow visitors during testing or some other particularly busy period. This will all be governed by your district's policies about parents visiting, which you should be able to get at the school district's or school's administration office. A complaint about that policy or about an administrator should be taken through the local grievance process (to the principal, then the superintendent, then the school board), which is also a policy you should be able to obtain from the school district's or school's administration office.  [top]
        
    9. What is the education law that states how many days of school students are expected to attend and how many days they can miss before they are held back?
      Texas school districts are required to provide at least 180 days of instruction (Section 25.081, Texas Education Code). However, some districts have a waiver from the Commissioner of Education allowing them to substitute a few of those days for teacher professional development days.
      To receive credit for a class, a student is required to attend school for at least 90 percent of the days the class is offered (Section 25.092, Texas Education Code). Students with excessive absences may restore credit as provided by local policy.  [top]
        
    10. May an absence be deemed excused but still be used to file truancy charges?
      Texas Education Code Section 25.091 provides that a complaint or referral for failure to attend school is to be filed after a student has a certain number of absences "without excuse". Section 25.087 provides that a student's absence may be excused for "any cause acceptable to the teacher, principal or superintendent".  [top]  

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