Toolbox Tuesday and Teacher Removal

Tuesdays here at the Daily Dawg are saved for the Toolbox—our firm’s one-day training program about special education discipline.  For the next few Tuesdays, I’m going to address the right of the teacher to order the removal of an unruly student, and how that intersects with federal law pertaining to students with disabilities. How does the right of a Texas teacher to order the removal of a student from the classroom fit into the Toolbox?  Good question.

Teachers have had the power to remove an unruly kid from the classroom for decades, but it seems to be drawing more attention these days.  There were several new laws enacted in 2019 designed to protect this right.  More teachers seem to be aware of the rights they have, and to be willing to exercise those rights.

Today: just some basics.  The statute is Texas Education Code 37.002.  It empowers teachers to “send” a student to the office or to “remove” the student from the classroom. “Sending” and “removing” are two different things. 

The power to “send” the student simply puts into law what teachers have done from the beginning of time.  There are no specific standards in the law. It just says this:

A teacher may send a student to the campus behavior coordinator’s office [CBC] to maintain effective discipline in the classroom.  TEC 37.002(a).

The CBC then uses “appropriate discipline management techniques consistent with the student code of conduct…that can reasonably be expected to improve the student’s behavior before returning the student to the classroom.” 

Does this apply equally to the student with an IEP?  Sure.  But as CBCs consider the range of “discipline management techniques,” they should be sure to review the student’s BIP if there is one.

When a teacher orders the “removal” of a student you are dealing with a more complicated situation.  There are “discretionary” removals and “mandatory” removals, and we will deal with those on the next two Tuesdays. But before we finish up today, one more thing: your campus must have a PRC—a Placement Review Committee.  The Dawg has the impression that there are some campuses that have never put this into effect. 

The PRC comes into play when 1) a teacher “removes” a student; 2) the principal orders the student back to that teacher’s classroom; and 3) the teacher refuses to give consent.  That’s when the matter goes to the PRC.

The PRC should be established before it’s needed.  So take a look at T.E.C. 37.003, which spells out how the PRC works. There are three members.  The faculty chooses two teachers and one alternate (in case one of the two regular members is the “removing” teacher), and the principal appoints the third member from “the professional staff” of the campus.

If you don’t have a PRC, you ought to create one at the next faculty meeting.  If you don’t create the PRC until you have a need for one, there is added pressure on the teachers for the selection of the members. So do this now, before a teacher invokes the process.


Tomorrow: How do you feel when a board member attends the ARD meeting?