85th Texas Legislature – October Recess

The following changes have been identified by CR Educational Services as pertinent to Texas School Principals and in turn the TExES Principal Certification Exam.

These changes are in references to bills put into effect by the 85th Texas Legislature.



House Bill 657 (HB657)

Relating to procedures for a student enrolled in a special education program who fails to perform satisfactorily on certain assessment instruments

Action : 2017-05-29 [Effective Immediately]


Rep. Diego Bernal [D] Rep. Ryan Guillen [D] Rep. Dewayne Burns [R] Sen. Jose Menendez [D]


  • Amends TEC Sec. 28.0211 that requires satisfactory performance on grades 5 and 8 math and reading STAAR tests before a student may advance to the next grade level.
  • Requires the student’s ARD committee to meet before the student is administered a STAAR reading or math test at these grade levels for the second time.
  • Permits a student’s ARD committee to promote the student to the next grade level if the committee concludes that the student made sufficient progress in the measurable academic goals identified in the student’s IEP.
  • Amends code so that if the ARD committee determines the student under these provisions is to advance to the next grade level, the school district does not have to provide an additional opportunity for the student to take the applicable STAAR test a second time.
  • Requires a district to notify parents of students receiving special education services about these new options for the ARD to consider, no later than September 1 of each school year.



Senate Bill 489 (SB489)

Relating to recommendations regarding instruction in public schools to prevent the use of e-cigarettes

Action : 2017-05-28 [Effective Immediately]


Sen. Eddie Lucio [D] Sen. Sylvia Garcia [D] Sen. Royce West [D] Rep. Carol Alvarado [D]


Note: This impacts the campus Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC)


  • Adds the prevention of the use of e-cigarettes to the list of duties of local school health advisory councils (SHAC). Earliest effective date: Immediately



Senate Bill 693 (SB693)

Relating to three-point seat belts on buses that transport school children.

Action: 2017-06-15 [Effective on 9/1/17]


Sen. Sylvia Garcia [D] Sen. Juan Hinojosa [D] Sen. Eddie Lucio [D] Sen. Robert Nichols [R]
Sen. Charles Perry [R] Sen. Jose Rodrigues [D] Sen. Larry Taylor [R] Sen. Judith Zaffirini [D]
Rep. Dade Phelan [R] Rep. Charles Anderson [R] Rep. Joe Deshotel [D] Rep. Donna Howard [D]
Rep. Morgan Meyer [R] Rep. Hames White [R]


Note : This will help answer parents’ questions in relation to seat belts on the bus


  • Requires a school bus, school activity bus, multifunction school activity bus, or a school-chartered bus that is operated or contracted for use by a school for the transportation of schoolchildren to be equipped with a three-point seat belt for each passenger, including the operator.
  • This requirement does not apply to:
  • a bus purchased by a district that is a 2017 model or earlier; or
  • a bus operated by a district that is a 2018 or later model if the school board determines that the district’s budget does not permit the district to purchase a bus equipped with the seat belts and votes to approve that determination in a public meeting.
  • Earliest effective date: September 1, 2017



Senate Bill 725

Relating to the donation and distribution of food at public schools

Action : 2017-06-09 [Effective Immediately]


Sen. Borris Miles [D] Sen. Sylvia Garcia [D] Sen. Jose Menendez [D] Rep. Diego Bernal [D]
Rep. Gary Vandeaver [R] Rep. Four Price [R] Rep. Senfronia Thompson [D] Rep. Ina Minjarez [D]
Rep. Robert Alonzo [D] Rep. Rafael Anchia [D] Rep. Diana Arevalo [D] Rep. Kyle Biedermann [R]
Rep. Cesar Blanco [D] Rep. Dwayne Bohac [R] Rep. Dennis Bonnen [R] Rep. Dustin Burrows [R]
Rep. Briscoe Cain [R] Rep. Terry Canales [D] Rep. Garnet Coleman [D] Rep. Scott Cosper [R]
Rep. Dawnna Dukes [D] Rep. Jessica Farrar [D] Rep. Helen Giddings [D] Rep. Ryan Guillen [D]
Rep. Gina Hinojoa [D] Rep. Donna Howard [D] Rep. Dan Huberty [R] Rep. Jarvis Johnson [D]
Rep. Matt Krause [R] Rep. Eddie Lucio [D] Rep. Armando Martinez [D] Rep. Morgan Meyer [R]
Rep. Rick Miller [R] Rep. Victoria Neave [D] Rep. Linda Ortega [D] Rep. Tan Parker [R]
Rep. Mary Perez [D] Rep. Richard Raymond [D] Rep. Ron Reynolds [D] Rep. Matt Rinaldi [R]
Rep. Eddie Rodriguez [D] Rep. Justin Rodriguez [D] Rep. Raymond Romero [D] Rep. Leighton Schubert [R]
Rep. Drew Springer [R] Rep. Lynn Stucky [R] Rep. Shawn Thierry [D] Rep. Ed Thompson [R]
Rep. Chris Turner [D] Rep. Tomas Uresti [D] Rep. Jason Villalba [R] Rep. James White [R]


Note : The old food drives are back


  • Allows school districts to permit campuses to donate food to a nonprofit organization that is directly affiliated with the campus, including a teacher, counselor, or parent of a student enrolled at the campus. Permits the donated food to be received, stored, and distributed on the campus. Allows food donated by the campus to include:
  • surplus food prepared for breakfast, lunch, or dinner meals, or a snack to be served at the campus cafeteria (subject to any applicable local, state, and federal requirements); or
  • food donated to the campus as a result of a food drive or similar event. Allows the type of food donated to include:
    • packaged or unpackaged unserved food;
    • packaged served food if the packaging is in good condition;
    • whole, uncut produce;
    • wrapped raw produce; and
    • unpeeled fruit required to be peeled before consumption.
  • Permits food donated to a nonprofit organization to be distributed at the campus at any time. Allows campus employees to assist in preparing and distributing the food as volunteers for the nonprofit organization.
  • Provides that school districts may adopt policies under which the district provides food at no cost to a student for breakfast, lunch, dinner meals, or a snack if the student in unable to purchase them. Applies beginning with the 2017–2018 school year.

Impacts support to campus SHAC

  • Earliest effective date: Immediately



Senate Bill 1553 (SB1553)

Relating to certain requirements imposed on a sex offender who enters the premises of a school and to the refusal of entry to or ejection from school district property

Action : 2017-06-15 [Bill active September 1,2017 except for certain sections]


Sen. Jose Menendez [D] Sen. Donna Campbell [R] Sen. Carlso Uresti [D] Sen. Royce West [D]
Rep. Diego Bernal [D]


Note : Know Your responsibility here!


  • Requires a registered sex offender to notify the administrative office of the school of the person’s presence and the person’s registration status. Allows the administrative office to provide a chaperone to accompany the person while the person is on school premises.
  • Allows a school administrator, school resources officer, or school district peace officer of a school district to refuse to allow a person to enter, or may eject a person from, property under the district’s control if the person refuses to leave peaceably on request, and:
  • the person poses a substantial risk of harm to any person, or;
  • the person behaves in a manner that is inappropriate for a school setting and the administrator, resource officer, or peace officer issues a verbal warning to the person that the person’s behavior is inappropriate and may result a refusal or entry or ejection and the person persists in that behavior.
  • Requires a school district to maintain a record of each verbal warning, including the name of the person to whom the warning was issued and the date of issuance. —DOCUMENT!!
  • Requires the district to provide to the person written information explaining the appeal process at the time the person is refused entry or ejected from school district property.
  • Requires a school district to accommodate the parent of a child or guardian who was refused entry to ensure the parent or guardian participates in the child’s ARD committee or in the child’s team under the Rehabilitation Act.
  • Provides that the term of a person’s refusal of entry to or ejection from a school district’s property may not exceed two years.
  • Requires a school district to post on the district’s website and each district campus to post on any website of the campus, a notice regarding the provisions relating to refusal or entry or ejection, including the appeals process to the school board of trustees.




Senate Bill 1942 (SB1942)

Relating to the transportation or storage of a handgun or other firearm or ammunition by a license holder in a motor vehicle in a parking area of a primary or secondary school

Action : 2017-05-18 [Committee report sent to Calendars]


Sen. Bryan Hughes [R] Sen. Paul Bettencourt [R] Sen. Bob Hall [R] Sen. Nicholas Taylor [R]
Rep. Cole Hefner [R]


  • Transportation or Storage of a Firearm and Ammunition by License holder in School Parking Area
  • Prevents school districts from prohibiting any person who holds a license to carry a handgun from transporting or storing a handgun or other firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned, or leased vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area provided by the district if the handgun, firearm, or ammunition is not in plain view.



Senate Bill 1963 (SB1963)

Relating to requirements for educator preparation program support for certain candidates for certification

Action : 2017-06-15 [Effective Immediately]


Sen. Charles Creighton [R] Rep. Date Phelan [R]


Note : This effected the Ed Leadership Programs


  • Amends TEC Sec. 21.044 by adding a requirement that SBEC rules for an ongoing educator preparation program for a candidate seeking a certification other than as a classroom teacher may not require the program to conduct one or more formal observations on the candidate’s site in a face-to-face setting.
  • Mandates the rules permit each required formal observation to occur on the candidate’s site or through use of electronic transmission or other video-based or technology-based method.



House Bill 332 (HB332)

Relating to the use of school district buildings as polling place locations

Action : 2017-06-15 [Effective 9/1/2017]


Rep. Morgan Meyer [R] Rep. Rodney Anderson [R] Rep. Pat Fallon [R] Rep. Celia Israel [D]
Sen. Craig Estes [R]


Note : Never be surprised over this issue


  • Expands the prohibition on improper employee and student relationships to any school employee serving in a capacity that requires a license, regardless of whether the employee holds that license. Expands the offense to include any employee engaging in an improper relationship with a student who the employee knows is enrolled in any public or private primary or secondary school, or with any student participant in an educational activity sponsored by a school district or public or private primary or secondary school.
  • Maintains the “knew” standard for superintendents regarding an educator’s termination of employment or resignation following an alleged incident of misconduct or an employee’s criminal record. Creates a state jail felony for a superintendent, director, or principal who fails to file a report with the intent to conceal an educator’s criminal record or alleged incident of misconduct.


  • Adds a district of innovation, regional education service center, or shared services arrangement to the list of entities required to conduct an investigation.
    • Requires the principal of a school district, district of innovation, or open-enrollment charter school campus to notify the superintendent or director of the school district, district of innovation, or charter school not later than the seventh business day after the date:
  • of an educator’s termination of employment or resignation following an alleged incident of misconduct; or
  • the principal knew about an educator’s criminal record.
    • Extends immunity to a principal of a school district, district of innovation, open-enrollment charter school, regional education service center, or shared services agreement that in good faith files a report with SBEC or communicates with another superintendent, director, or principal concerning an educator’s criminal record or alleged incident of misconduct.
    • Requires an applicant for a position that requires certification to submit a pre-employment affidavit disclosing whether the applicant has ever been charged with, adjudicated for, or convicted of having an inappropriate relationship with a minor.


  • Allows SBEC to impose an administrative penalty to superintendents, directors, or principals who fail to provide a report or notice by the due dates in the legislation.
  • Requires educator preparation programs to provide information regarding appropriate relationships, boundaries, and communications between educators and students. Requires continuing education programs for principals to prevent, recognize, and report any sexual conduct between an educator and student.
  • Allows SBEC to suspend or revoke a certificate held by a person, impose other sanctions against the person, or refuse to issue a certificate to the person if:
  • the person assists another person in obtaining employment at a school district or open-enrollment charter school, other than by the transmission of administrative and personnel files; and
  • the person knew that the other person previously engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor or student in violation of the law.
    • Requires a school district to adopt a written policy concerning electronic communications between a school employee and student enrolled in the district.
    • Prohibits a person from receiving a service retirement annuity from TRS if the person is convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children, an improper relationship between an educator and student, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault.



Senate Bill 1645 (SB1645)

Relating to requiring certain school districts to allow students who participate in Special Olympics to earn a letter on that basis

Action : 2017-05-29 [Effective Immediately]


Rep. J.M. Lozano [R] Rep. Ryan Guillen [D] Rep. Tom Oliverson [R] Rep. Linda Koop [R]
Rep. Rodney Anderson [R] Rep. Dwayne Bohac [R] Rep. Robert Guerra [D] Rep. Brooks Landgraf [R]
Rep. Jeff Leach [R] Rep. Rick Miller [R] Rep. Drew Springer [R] Sen. Judith Zaffirini [D]
Sen. Sylvia Garcia [D]


  • Requires a school district to allow high school students who participate in Special Olympics to earn a letter grade.
  • Earliest effective date: Immediately



House Bill 674 (HB674)

Relating to the suspension of a student enrolled in a grade level below grade three from public school and to a positive behavior program for public schools

Action : 2017-06-12 [Effective Immediately]


Rep. Eric Johnson [D] Rep. Helen Giddings [D] Rep. Rafael Anchia [D] Rep. Nicole Collier [D]
Rep. Gina Hinojosa [D] Rep. Jarvis Johnson [D] Rep. Joseph Moody [D] Rep. Ron Reynolds [D]
Rep. Toni Rose [D] Rep. Shawn Thierry [D] Sen. Sylvia Garcia [D] Sen. Donna Campbell [R]
Sen. Kel Seliger [R] Rep. Royce West [D]


Note : FYI Elementary Principals


  • Allows a school district and open-enrollment charter school to develop and implement a program that provides a disciplinary alternative for a student below the third grade who engages in conduct that violates the student code of conduct and subjects the student to a suspension. Provides the requirements for the program that may be implemented, including that it be age-appropriate and research-based and promote a positive school environment. Allows a school district and open-enrollment charter school to conduct annual training on the program adopted.
  • Prohibits a school district or open-enrollment charter school placing a student below the third grade in out-of- school suspension unless while on school property or while attending a school-sponsored or school-related activity on or off school property, the student engages in conduct that contains the elements of a weapons- related offense, a violent offense, or sells, gives, or delivers to another person or possesses, uses or is under the influence of any amount of marijuana, a dangerous drug, or alcoholic beverage. DOCUMENT…DOCUMENT…DOCUMENT!



House Bill 1593 (HB1593)

Relating to the engagement strategies included in a school district’s family engagement plan

Action : 2017-06-15 [Effective Immediately]


Rep. Dwayne Bohac [R] Sen. Bryan Hughes [R]


  • Requires a school district to include in its family engagement plan, programs, and interventions that engage a family in supporting a student’s learning at home.



House Bill 2880 (HB2880)

Relating to the criminal punishment for the threatened exhibition or use of a firearm in or on school property or on a school bus

Action : 2017-06-15 [Effective 9/1/2017]


Rep. Harold Dutton [D] Sen. Jose Menendez [D]




  • Provides that a person commits an offense if the person:
  • intentionally threatens to exhibit or
  • use a firearm in or on school property or on a school bus and
  • was in possession of, or
  • had immediate access to, the firearm or threatens to exhibit or use a firearm in or on school property or on a school bus.



Senate Bill 179 (SB179)

Relating to harassment, bullying, and cyberbullying of a public-school student or minor and certain mental health programs for public school students; increasing a criminal penalty

Action : 2017-06-09 [Effective 9/1/2017]


Sen. Jose Menendez [D] Sen. Judith Zaffirini [D] Sen. Paul Bettencourt [R] Sen. Donna Campbell [R]
Sen. Charles Creighton [R] Sen. Sylvia Garcia [D] Sen. Juan Hinojosa [D] Sen. Joan Huffman [R]
Sen. Eddie Lucio [D] Sen. Larry Taylor [R] Sen. Kirk Watson [D] Sen. Royce West [D]
Rep. Ina Minjarez [D] Rep. Wayne Faircloth [R] Rep. Joseph Moody [D] Rep. Lyle Larson [R]
Rep. Ken King [R] Rep. Alma Allen [D] Rep. Robert Alonzo [D] Rep. Rafael Anchia [D]
Rep. Diana Arevalo [D] Rep. Kyle Biedermann [R] Rep. Philip Cortez [D] Rep. Scott Cosper [R]
Rep. Joe Deshotel [D] Rep. Jessica Farrar [D] Rep. Barbara Gervin-Hawkins [D] Rep. Ryan Guillen [D]
Rep. Jeff Leach [R] Rep. Eddie Lucio [D] Rep. Victoria Neave [D] Rep. Dade Phelan [R]
Rep. Richard Raymond [D] Rep. Kevin Robers [R] Rep. Eddie Rodriguez [D] Rep. Justin Rodriguez [D]
Rep. Chris Turner [D] Rep. Tomas Uresti [D] Rep. Gary Vandeaver [R] Rep. Jason Villalba [R]


  • Provides specific definitions for “bullying” and “cyberbullying.”
  • Requires a school district to establish a procedure for providing notice of an incident of bullying, as defined in the statute, to a parent or guardian of an alleged victim “on or before the third business day after the date the incident is reported.” Maintains the current requirement that a school district notify the parent or guardian of an alleged bully “within a reasonable amount of time after the incident.”
  • Requires a school district to establish a procedure to allow a student to anonymously report an incident of bullying.
  • Allows a school district to place a student in a disciplinary alternative education program if the student engages in bullying that encourages a student to:
    • commit or attempt to commit suicide,
    • incites violence against a student through group bullying, or
    • without a student’s consent, releases or threatens to release intimate visual material of a minor or a student who is 18 years of age or older.
  • Allows the principal of a public primary or secondary school, or another designated school employee, to make a report to a school district police department, a municipal police department, or the sheriff of a county if he has reasonable grounds to believe that a student engaged in conduct that constitutes an assault or harassment via repeated electronic communications under the Penal Code. Allows the name and address of each student who may have participated in the conduct to be included in the report.


  • Provides immunity from civil or criminal liability to a person who voluntarily makes a police report. Provides immunity from civil or criminal liability or disciplinary action to a person who takes any action regarding the report to law enforcement.
  • Provides immunity from suit to a school district, school personnel, and school volunteers for an act relating to the report to law enforcement, including acts under related policies and procedures.
  • Defines a “mental health condition” as an “illness, disease, or disorder, other than epilepsy, dementia, substance abuse, or intellectual disability, that … substantially impairs a person’s thought, perception of reality, emotional process, or judgment; or … grossly impairs behavior as demonstrated by recent disturbed behavior.”
  • Allows instruction regarding how grief and trauma affect student learning and how trauma-informed strategies support academic success to be included in the continuing education requirements for a classroom education teacher and a principal.
  • Requires a school district counselor to serve as an impartial, nonreporting resource for interpersonal conflicts and discord involving two or more students accused of bullying and cyberbullying.


  • Allows the recipient of cyberbullying behavior or the parent or another person standing in parental relation to the recipient to seek injunctive relief against the person who was cyberbullying or against the parent or another person standing in parental relation to the individual who was cyberbullying.



House Bill 3024 (HB3024)

Relating to the removal of a public-school student from an interscholastic athletic activity on the basis of a suspected concussion

Action : 2017-06-01 [Effective Immediately]


Rep. Four Price [R] Rep. Richard Raymond [D] Sen. Brian Birdwell [R]




  • Includes licensed chiropractors to the list of individuals who can determine whether a student should be removed from a UIL practice or competition if they believe the student might have sustained a concussion during the practice or competition.
85th Texas Legislature – October Recess
Scroll to top