Too many kids sent to the office!!

Ms. Downyshanks is a promising young teacher, but in her first two years of teaching, there have been some issues with classroom management. The principal has the statistics to demonstrate the problem. In her first year of teaching, Ms. Downyshanks removed more students from the classroom than any other teacher. In fact it was not close. She had twice as many classroom removals as any other teacher.

Things did not improve in year two. Again, Ms. Downyshanks had twice as many office referrals as any other teacher. Moreover, the documentation that Ms. Downyshanks provides to justify these removals is pretty skimpy. The principal considers this to be good evidence of poor classroom management skills. What to do?

Before doing anything else about this, the principal should read SB 1451. This new law is designed to protect the right of that classroom teacher to order the removal of an unruly student. It says that administrators may not assign an area of deficiency to a teacher “solely on the basis of disciplinary referrals made by the teacher or documentation regarding student conduct.” The new statute confirms that a teacher “may document any conduct by a student that does not conform to the student code of conduct….and may submit that documentation to the principal.” The principal “may not discipline” the teacher based on that documentation.

Hmmm. So what to do? The principal will need to visit Ms. Downyshanks’s classroom. The principal cannot justify a deficiency in classroom management with “we’re getting too many referrals.” Nor can she rely solely on poor documentation. Instead, the law requires that any deficiency rating in the teacher’s evaluation be supported by documented evidence of a deficiency in classroom management obtained through “observation or a substantiated report.”

One more new wrinkle in this law. It tells us that the removal of the student from the classroom by a teacher does not have to be reported on PEIMS as a disciplinary removal. It may have to be reported depending on what the Campus Behavior Coordinator (CBC) does, but the teacher’s act of sending the student to the CBC is not a reportable event.

This one goes into effect with the 2019-20 school year. It will be found at Texas Education Code 21.351(a-1), 21.352(a-1) and 37.002(b-1) and (e).


Tomorrow: Dad wants to have lunch with the kid. Mom doesn’t want him to.