Current through the 87th Legislature (2021) Third Special Session
Section 37.115 - Threat Assessment And Safe And Supportive School Program And Team(a) In this section: (1) "Harmful, threatening, or violent behavior" includes behaviors, such as verbal threats, threats of self harm, bullying, cyberbullying, fighting, the use or possession of a weapon, sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, stalking, or assault, by a student that could result in:(A) specific interventions, including mental health or behavioral supports;(B) in-school suspension;(C) out-of-school suspension; or(D) the student's expulsion or removal to a disciplinary alternative education program or a juvenile justice alternative education program.(2) "Team" means a threat assessment and safe and supportive school team established by the board of trustees of a school district under this section.(b) The agency, in coordination with the Texas School Safety Center, shall adopt rules to establish a safe and supportive school program. The rules shall incorporate research-based best practices for school safety, including providing for: (1) physical and psychological safety;(2) a multiphase and multihazard approach to prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery in a crisis situation;(3) a systemic and coordinated multitiered support system that addresses school climate, the social and emotional domain, and behavioral and mental health; and(4) multidisciplinary and multiagency collaboration to assess risks and threats in schools and provide appropriate interventions, including rules for the establishment and operation of teams.(c) The board of trustees of each school district shall establish a threat assessment and safe and supportive school team to serve at each campus of the district and shall adopt policies and procedures for the teams. The team is responsible for developing and implementing the safe and supportive school program under Subsection (b) at the district campus served by the team. The policies and procedures adopted under this section must: (1) be consistent with the model policies and procedures developed by the Texas School Safety Center;(2) require each team to complete training provided by the Texas School Safety Center or a regional education service center regarding evidence-based threat assessment programs; and(3) require each team established under this section to report the information required under Subsection (k) regarding the team's activities to the agency.(d) The superintendent of the district shall ensure, to the greatest extent practicable, that the members appointed to each team have expertise in counseling, behavior management, mental health and substance use, classroom instruction, special education, school administration, school safety and security, emergency management, and law enforcement. A team may serve more than one campus of a school district, provided that each district campus is assigned a team. (e) The superintendent of a school district may establish a committee, or assign to an existing committee established by the district, the duty to oversee the operations of teams established for the district. A committee with oversight responsibility under this subsection must include members with expertise in human resources, education, special education, counseling, behavior management, school administration, mental health and substance use, school safety and security, emergency management, and law enforcement.(f) Each team shall: (1) conduct a threat assessment that includes: (A) assessing and reporting individuals who make threats of violence or exhibit harmful, threatening, or violent behavior in accordance with the policies and procedures adopted under Subsection (c); and(B) gathering and analyzing data to determine the level of risk and appropriate intervention, including: (i) referring a student for mental health assessment; and(ii) implementing an escalation procedure, if appropriate based on the team's assessment, in accordance with district policy;(2) provide guidance to students and school employees on recognizing harmful, threatening, or violent behavior that may pose a threat to the community, school, or individual; and(3) support the district in implementing the district's multihazard emergency operations plan.(g) A team may not provide a mental health care service to a student who is under 18 years of age unless the team obtains written consent from the parent of or person standing in parental relation to the student before providing the mental health care service. The consent required by this subsection must be submitted on a form developed by the school district that complies with all applicable state and federal law. The student's parent or person standing in parental relation to the student may give consent for a student to receive ongoing services or may limit consent to one or more services provided on a single occasion.(h) On a determination that a student or other individual poses a serious risk of violence to self or others, a team shall immediately report the team's determination to the superintendent. If the individual is a student, the superintendent shall immediately attempt to inform the parent or person standing in parental relation to the student. The requirements of this subsection do not prevent an employee of the school from acting immediately to prevent an imminent threat or respond to an emergency.(i) A team identifying a student at risk of suicide shall act in accordance with the district's suicide prevention program. If the student at risk of suicide also makes a threat of violence to others, the team shall conduct a threat assessment in addition to actions taken in accordance with the district's suicide prevention program.(j) A team identifying a student using or possessing tobacco, drugs, or alcohol shall act in accordance with district policies and procedures related to substance use prevention and intervention.(k) A team must report to the agency in accordance with guidelines developed by the agency the following information regarding the team's activities and other information for each school district campus the team serves: (1) the occupation of each person appointed to the team; (2) the number of threats and a description of the type of the threats reported to the team; (3) the outcome of each assessment made by the team, including: (A) any disciplinary action taken, including a change in school placement; (B) any action taken by law enforcement; or (C) a referral to or change in counseling, mental health, special education, or other services; (4) the total number, disaggregated by student gender, race, and status as receiving special education services, being at risk of dropping out of school, being in foster care, experiencing homelessness, being a dependent of military personnel, being pregnant or a parent, having limited English proficiency, or being a migratory child, of, in connection with an assessment or reported threat by the team: (A) citations issued for Class C misdemeanor offenses; (C) incidents of uses of restraint; (D) changes in school placement, including placement in a juvenile justice alternative education program or disciplinary alternative education program; (E) referrals to or changes in counseling, mental health, special education, or other services; (F) placements in in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension and incidents of expulsion; (G) unexcused absences of 15 or more days during the school year; and (H) referrals to juvenile court for truancy; and (5) the number and percentage of school personnel trained in: (A) a best-practices program or research-based practice under Section 38.351 , including the number and percentage of school personnel trained in: (i) suicide prevention; or (ii) grief and trauma-informed practices; (B) mental health or psychological first aid for schools; (C) training relating to the safe and supportive school program established under Subsection (b); or (D) any other program relating to safety identified by the commissioner. (l) The commissioner may adopt rules to implement this section.Amended by Acts 2021, Texas Acts of the 87th Leg. - Regular Session, ch. TBD,Sec. 5.011, eff. 9/1/2021.Amended by Acts 2021, Texas Acts of the 87th Leg. - Regular Session, ch. TBD,Sec. 3, eff. 6/18/2021.Added by Acts 2019, Texas Acts of the 86th Leg.- Regular Session, ch. 464,Sec. 13, eff. 9/1/2019.