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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 118722
Experience:  Attorney handling education matters.
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I am a special education teacher for kids with Autism. I am

Customer Question

I am a special education teacher for kids with Autism. I am new in the school district and I have 13 students to begin with. Two teacher aides and one of them is new. I am in this dilemma wherein the special education department of the district would not want to provide an extra staff for my class which I already address to my principal, my special education coordinator, the support coach. A parent of one of my students knew that I have 13 students and knew that I am busting my ass for those 13 kids. In her communication with me on email, she asked me how many students do I have that need a 1:1 service like her son because some of them are not getting the Least Restrictive Environment Service because they need a staff to go with them in the general education classroom. I have 4 students who either are behaviorally and cognitively severe or both, this was my response to the parent. This parent advocates for kids with ASD because of her son. The staff in my campus: diagnostician, campus administrators, and special education administrators including support coach had warned me that I should be careful on what I told to parents because I am a personnel of the school district that I am one among them and that whatever issues we have on campus/district should not be revealed to parents. I do not feel comfortable with this directive from those staff. I would like to know what is the right thing to do. The district is not providing the right teacher and student ratio for those students. That because of budget, I just have to live with what resources I have. That it is to impossible to provide another staff. How can I function providing on what;s on their IEPs to begin with?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Education Law
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

Hello. I have been an attorney for 27 years and have worked in the field of Education for 17 years. I will help you with your questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Where is your reply to the situation I just related? On top of this dilemma, i was given two memorandums by my principal threatening me of non-renewal of contract or termination.
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

I am working on this right now. I just got your question.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Im teacher here in one of the school districts in Texas.
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

This site provides information on the law. I can give you the law relating to a violation of the IEP. I can also give information on where the parent can go to challenge the failure to implement the IEP. For example, if the IEP calls for one on one and this is not being followed, I can tell you where the parent can go to challenge this. I can not give you particular advice as to what you can do. I will give information so that you can determine what to do.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I know where to look for them on the ieps. What my administrators are taking against me was that I communicated to the parent about the number of kids that needs a 1:1 service.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is that a violation if confidentiality when I have not divulged any name. I need an advocate to help me address all these concern to soecial ed department then to the superintendent and board
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

You want an advocate or attorney for you?

Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

Have you gone to your Union representative? If you are in a union, they are supposed to help you when administration has reprimanded you or you are being disciplined. This is your right under the teacher's contract.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I already informed the union. I sent them the two memos and my resoonses to them.
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

It is not about informing them. They should be assisting you.

Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

The union representative should challenge any administrative action taken against you. That is the job of the union.

Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

They can file a grievance for you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I know that
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You still havent answered my question
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

Is this your question?

"That because of budget, I just have to live with what resources I have. That it is to impossible to provide another staff. How can I function providing on what;s on their IEPs to begin with?"

Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

If the IEPs call for a certain number of staff members, the district has to provide that number of staff members. If they don't, they are in violation of the law and you can file a grievance. The union can help you with this.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I need your nput on everything that I just related. Did i violated a confidentiality when I communicated to the parent about the need for my class- that of additional staff.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What about the confidentiality issue? Did I break any confidentiality when parent asked about how many kids need 1:1 like her son? I also told her that because of the budget i just to live with what I have.
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

I cannot give you advice specific to your situation. I can only give you what the law is.

Here is what a parent is entitled to under Texas Education law:

Sec. 26.003. RIGHTS CONCERNING ACADEMIC PROGRAMS. (a) A parent is entitled to:

(1) petition the board of trustees designating the school in the district that the parent's child will attend, as provided by Section 25.033;

(2) reasonable access to the school principal, or to a designated administrator with the authority to reassign a student, to request a change in the class or teacher to which the parent's child has been assigned, if the reassignment or change would not affect the assignment or reassignment of another student;

(3) request, with the expectation that the request will not be unreasonably denied:

(A) the addition of a specific academic class in the course of study of the parent's child in keeping with the required curriculum if sufficient interest is shown in the addition of the class to make it economically practical to offer the class;

(B) that the parent's child be permitted to attend a class for credit above the child's grade level, whether in the child's school or another school, unless the board or its designated representative expects that the child cannot perform satisfactorily in the class; or

(C) that the parent's child be permitted to graduate from high school earlier than the child would normally graduate, if the child completes each course required for graduation; and

(4) have a child who graduates early as provided by Subdivision (3)(C) participate in graduation ceremonies at the time the child graduates.

(b) The decision of the board of trustees concerning a request described by Subsection (a)(2) or (3) is final and may not be appealed.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 26.0031. RIGHTS CONCERNING STATE VIRTUAL SCHOOL NETWORK. (a) At the time and in the manner that a school district or open-enrollment charter school informs students and parents about courses that are offered in the district's or school's traditional classroom setting, the district or school shall notify parents and students of the option to enroll in an electronic course offered through the state virtual school network under Chapter 30A.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), a school district or open-enrollment charter school in which a student is enrolled as a full-time student may not deny the request of a parent of a student to enroll the student in an electronic course offered through the state virtual school network under Chapter 30A.

(c) A school district or open-enrollment charter school may deny a request to enroll a student in an electronic course if:

(1) a student attempts to enroll in a course load that is inconsistent with the student's high school graduation plan or requirements for college admission or earning an industry certification;

(2) the student requests permission to enroll in an electronic course at a time that is not consistent with the enrollment period established by the school district or open-enrollment charter school providing the course; or

(3) the district or school offers a substantially similar course.

(c-1) A school district or open-enrollment charter school may decline to pay the cost for a student of more than three yearlong electronic courses, or the equivalent, during any school year. This subsection does not:

(1) limit the ability of the student to enroll in additional electronic courses at the student's cost; or

(2) apply to a student enrolled in a full-time online program that was operating on January 1, 2013.

(d) Notwithstanding Subsection (c)(2), a school district or open-enrollment charter school that provides an electronic course through the state virtual school network under Chapter 30A shall make all reasonable efforts to accommodate the enrollment of a student in the course under special circumstances.

(e) A parent may appeal to the commissioner a school district's or open-enrollment charter school's decision to deny a request to enroll a student in an electronic course offered through the state virtual school network. The commissioner's decision under this subsection is final and may not be appealed.

(f) A school district or open-enrollment charter school from which a parent of a student requests permission to enroll the student in an electronic course offered through the state virtual school network under Chapter 30A has discretion to select a course provider approved by the network's administering authority for the course in which the student will enroll based on factors including the informed choice report in Section 30A.108(b).

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1337 (S.B. 1788), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2007.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1386 (H.B. 1926), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Sec. 26.004. ACCESS TO STUDENT RECORDS. A parent is entitled to access to all written records of a school district concerning the parent's child, including:

(1) attendance records;

(2) test scores;

(3) grades;

(4) disciplinary records;

(5) counseling records;

(6) psychological records;

(7) applications for admission;

(8) health and immunization information;

(9) teacher and school counselor evaluations; and

(10) reports of behavioral patterns.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 443 (S.B. 715), Sec. 18, eff. June 14, 2013.

Sec. 26.005. ACCESS TO STATE ASSESSMENTS. Except as provided by Section 39.023(e), a parent is entitled to access to a copy of each state assessment instrument administered under Section 39.023 to the parent's child.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 767, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 26.006. ACCESS TO TEACHING MATERIALS. (a) A parent is entitled to:

(1) review all teaching materials, instructional materials, and other teaching aids used in the classroom of the parent's child; and

(2) review each test administered to the parent's child after the test is administered.

(b) A school district shall make teaching materials and tests readily available for review by parents. The district may specify reasonable hours for review.

(c) A student's parent is entitled to request that the school district or open-enrollment charter school the student attends allow the student to take home any instructional materials used by the student. Subject to the availability of the instructional materials, the district or school shall honor the request. A student who takes home instructional materials must return the instructional materials to school at the beginning of the next school day if requested to do so by the student's teacher. In this subsection, "instructional material" has the meaning assigned by Section 31.002.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 805, Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 6 (S.B. 6), Sec. 12, eff. July 19, 2011.

Sec. 26.007. ACCESS TO BOARD MEETINGS. (a) A parent is entitled to complete access to any meeting of the board of trustees of the school district, other than a closed meeting held in compliance with Subchapters D and E, Chapter 551, Government Code.

(b) A board of trustees of a school district must hold each public meeting of the board within the boundaries of the district except as required by law or except to hold a joint meeting with another district or with another governmental entity, as defined by Section 2051.041, Government Code, if the boundaries of the governmental entity are in whole or in part within the boundaries of the district. All public meetings must comply with Chapter 551, Government Code.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1335, Sec. 7, eff. June 19, 1999.

Sec. 26.008. RIGHT TO FULL INFORMATION CONCERNING STUDENT. (a) A parent is entitled to full information regarding the school activities of a parent's child except as provided by Section 38.004.

(b) An attempt by any school district employee to encourage or coerce a child to withhold information from the child's parent is grounds for discipline under Section 21.104, 21.156, or 21.211, as applicable.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 26.0081. RIGHT TO INFORMATION CONCERNING SPECIAL EDUCATION AND EDUCATION OF STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES. (a) The agency shall produce and provide to school districts sufficient copies of a comprehensive, easily understood document that explains the process by which an individualized education program is developed for a student in a special education program and the rights and responsibilities of a parent concerning the process. The document must include information a parent needs to effectively participate in an admission, review, and dismissal committee meeting for the parent's child.

(b) The agency will ensure that each school district provides the document required under this section to the parent as provided by 20 U.S.C. Section 1415(b):

(1) as soon as practicable after a child is referred to determine the child's eligibility for admission into the district's special education program, but at least five school days before the date of the initial meeting of the admission, review, and dismissal committee; and

(2) at any other time on reasonable request of the child's parent.

(c) The agency shall produce and provide to school districts a written explanation of the options and requirements for providing assistance to students who have learning difficulties or who need or may need special education. The explanation must state that a parent is entitled at any time to request an evaluation of the parent's child for special education services under Section 29.004. Each school year, each district shall provide the written explanation to a parent of each district student by including the explanation in the student handbook or by another means.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 616, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 539, Sec. 1, 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 26.0082. SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL SERVICES. (a) In this section, "rigorous research" means research that includes:

(1) a study design that employs either a randomized controlled trial or a quasi-experimental design;

(2) an adequate measure of outcomes; and

(3) reliable and valid results.

(b) As part of the annual notice a school district provides to parents under 20 U.S.C. Section 6316(e)(2)(A) concerning supplemental educational services, the district shall include information provided to the district by the agency that:

(1) identifies characteristics of supplemental educational services that, based on rigorous research, have been demonstrated to be more likely to foster improvement in student academic performance, including information concerning the minimum number of hours of tutoring necessary for improved performance; and

(2) sorts, for each subject for which supplemental educational services are provided, supplemental educational services providers serving district students according to the provider's level of effectiveness in improving student performance in the applicable subject area.

(c) The agency shall develop and the commissioner by rule shall establish a process for approving and revoking approval for a supplemental educational services provider. The process must allow the agency to use any publicly available information from any published source in determining whether to approve an entity as a provider, except that the agency may not use information that is self-published or published by a provider for marketing purposes.

(d) The agency shall maintain a publicly available list of approved providers. In accordance with standards established by commissioner rule, the agency shall promptly investigate a complaint against an approved provider and promptly remove from the list of approved providers a provider for which agency approval has been revoked.

(e) Not later than the fifth business day after the date on which the agency removes a provider from the list of approved providers, the agency shall send notice of the removal to each appropriate school district. The district shall provide notice of the removal to parents of appropriate students.

(f) A supplemental educational services provider for which agency approval has been revoked because the agency determines that the provider has engaged in fraudulent activity is permanently prohibited from acting as a provider in this state.

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 646 (H.B. 753), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 26.0085. REQUESTS FOR PUBLIC INFORMATION. (a) A school district or open-enrollment charter school that seeks to withhold information from a parent who has requested public information relating to the parent's child under Chapter 552, Government Code, and that files suit as described by Section 552.324, Government Code, to challenge a decision by the attorney general issued under Subchapter G, Chapter 552, Government Code, must bring the suit not later than the 30th calendar day after the date the school district or open-enrollment charter school receives the decision of the attorney general being challenged.

(b) A court shall grant a suit described by Subsection (a) precedence over other pending matters to ensure prompt resolution of the subject matter of the suit.

(c) Notwithstanding any other law, a school district or open-enrollment charter school may not appeal the decision of a court in a suit filed under Subsection (a). This subsection does not affect the right of a parent to appeal the decision.

(d) If the school district or open-enrollment charter school does not bring suit within the period established by Subsection (a), the school district or open-enrollment charter school shall comply with the decision of the attorney general.

(e) A school district or open-enrollment charter school that receives a request from a parent for public information relating to the parent's child shall comply with Chapter 552, Government Code. If an earlier deadline for bringing suit is established under Chapter 552, Government Code, Subsection (a) does not apply. This section does not affect the earlier deadline for purposes of Section 532.353(b)(3) for a suit brought by an officer for public information.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1335, Sec. 8, eff. June 19, 1999.

Sec. 26.009. CONSENT REQUIRED FOR CERTAIN ACTIVITIES. (a) An employee of a school district must obtain the written consent of a child's parent before the employee may:

(1) conduct a psychological examination, test, or treatment, unless the examination, test, or treatment is required under Section 38.004 or state or federal law regarding requirements for special education; or

(2) make or authorize the making of a videotape of a child or record or authorize the recording of a child's voice.

(b) An employee of a school district is not required to obtain the consent of a child's parent before the employee may make a videotape of a child or authorize the recording of a child's voice if the videotape or voice recording is to be used only for:

(1) purposes of safety, including the maintenance of order and discipline in common areas of the school or on school buses;

(2) a purpose related to a cocurricular or extracurricular activity;

(3) a purpose related to regular classroom instruction;

(4) media coverage of the school; or

(5) a purpose related to the promotion of student safety under Section 29.022.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1175, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1147 (S.B. 507), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2015.

Sec. 26.0091. REFUSAL OF PSYCHIATRIC OR PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT OF CHILD AS BASIS OF REPORT OF NEGLECT. (a) In this section, "psychotropic drug" has the meaning assigned by Section 261.111, Family Code.

(b) An employee of a school district may not use or threaten to use the refusal of a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator of a child to administer or consent to the administration of a psychotropic drug to the child, or to consent to any other psychiatric or psychological testing or treatment of the child, as the sole basis for making a report of neglect of the child under Subchapter B, Chapter 261, Family Code, unless the employee has cause to believe that the refusal:

(1) presents a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or bodily injury to the child; or

(2) has resulted in an observable and material impairment to the growth, development, or functioning of the child.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1008, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003.

Sec. 26.010. EXEMPTION FROM INSTRUCTION. (a) A parent is entitled to remove the parent's child temporarily from a class or other school activity that conflicts with the parent's religious or moral beliefs if the parent presents or delivers to the teacher of the parent's child a written statement authorizing the removal of the child from the class or other school activity. A parent is not entitled to remove the parent's child from a class or other school activity to avoid a test or to prevent the child from taking a subject for an entire semester.

(b) This section does not exempt a child from satisfying grade level or graduation requirements in a manner acceptable to the school district and the agency.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 26.011. COMPLAINTS. The board of trustees of each school district shall adopt a grievance procedure under which the board shall address each complaint that the board receives concerning violation of a right guaranteed by this chapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 26.012. FEE FOR COPIES. The agency or a school district may charge a reasonable fee in accordance with Subchapter F, Chapter 552, Government Code, for copies of materials provided to a parent under this chapter.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What about the confidentiality issue?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Did i violated any confidentiality issue?
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

I cannot give you specific advice. The law that I gave you shows what information you can give. If you gave information other than allowed by law, then you breached confidentiality.

Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

Parents are entitled to information that is public and that concerns their own children.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You sent me a long list. I need the soecific law breaching confidentiality
Expert:  Colleen Grady replied 1 year ago.

I am going to opt out so that another expert can help you.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
I am a DIFFERENT CONTRIBUTOR as your previous contributor has left.
First off, please understand that there are two things here, there is a duty of keeping educational records confidential, that is the law on confidentiality and there is also the right of an employer to direct the actions and conduct of their employees. Both seem to be involved here.
First, under FERPA, a school employee cannot release any information regarding educational records of any students without express authorization from the parent/guardian of the student, except to another educator for the purposes of the student's educational needs. So it can be deemed a violation of FERPA to disclose information about any student to another parent. Saying you have 4 students who need 1:1 care is borderline, if you did not identify those students, and is likely not a violation of FERPA. See: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html
Second, and just as valid, an employee at work or regarding the workplace does not have unfettered freedom of speech. What that means is that the employee is not free to discuss employer matters to others as they see fit, especially where such discussion can harm he employer in any manner. So griping to parents about work conditions in the school is speech that the school can curtail and it violates no right of free speech. Thus, the employer can issue directives to employees to not discuss employer matters including lack of staffing with parents and failure to abide by that instruction would be good cause for disciplinary action.
NOW, if the school is violating the IDEA or any other law, the employee has a right to file a complaint to the PROPER government authorities about the violations for investigation. In this case it would be the School Board and/or the State Department of Education, if the school is not providing necessary resources to comply with student IEPs. This would not violate FERPA or the employer's instructions for you not to discuss these matters. You would also be protected from harassment or retaliation for filing what you believe to be a complaint about a violation of IDEA or any other law, even if ultimately no violation is found the employer is not allowed to retaliate or harass an employee for making such a complaint to the proper authorities.
So, the employer can stop you from discussing school staffing or employment matters with parents and can order you to not discuss other students with a parent other than the student's parent (as that could potentially violate FERPA). If you fail to comply with your employer's instructions (other than filing a complaint with the school board or DOE for violations of IDEA) then the employer can take disciplinary action against you, up to and including termination.