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Texas schools will have new power to remove kids

This coming school year brings a change to the consequences your child may face if they get into a conflict with a teacher. A controversial new change in the law requires students who are considered to be engaging in harassment of teachers to be removed from the regular classroom to a disciplinary environment.

The change could bring major changes to kids having disciplinary challenges as well as parents trying to help their child navigate the often-hazardous path to adulthood.

Removal tospecial disciplinary schools

The change adds a new item to the already long list of reasons public schools can remove kids from their normal school and place them in a disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP).

DAEPs are designed for students who commit crimes or disciplinary infractions. DAEP students go through metal detectors, wear uniforms and are accompanied by uniformed escorts. The average time students spend in a DAEP is 30 days, during which students are taught behavioral management along with other curricula. Black students, economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities are overrepresented in DAEPs, the Texas Tribune reports.

Actions that can now get your child into a DAEP

Along with infractions like terroristic threats, felony offenses and drug dealing, the new text of the statute adds “the elements of the offense of harassment … against an employee of the school district.”

Experts, including attorneys, have expressed concern that the law’s new language leaves too much interpretation of “harassment” to teachers and school administrators, opening the possibility for children to be disciplined simply for misunderstandings, being disliked by a teacher, swearing or for any number of minor discriminatory issues.

In interpreting and applying the state’s statute, considerable improvisation may often be used by teachers, administrators, parents and attorneys, which can lesson or worsen the potentially negative consequences of the policy for communities or individual kids.

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