For the past few Toolbox Tuesdays we’ve been reviewing how “teacher removal” works. Texas Education Code 37.002 authorizes classroom teachers to either “send” a student to the office or to “remove” the student due to misconduct. If the teacher orders “removal” the CBC (Campus Behavior Coordinator) must hold a conference and make a decision. The CBC is not allowed to send the student back to the teacher’s classroom unless the teacher consents. Most teachers do. But what happens if the teacher refuses to give consent?
That’s when the PRC comes in: Placement Review Committee. For all of you thinking “Gee…I’ve never heard of the PRC” we would gently point out that it’s been mandated by state law since 1995. If your campus does not have a PRC, it would be a good idea to set one up promptly. The PRC fulfills a delicate mission: it deals with disputes between campus administrators and a teacher. Most educators would prefer not to be put in that tough position, but someone (actually four people) need to be willing to take on the responsibility.
The campus faculty is to choose three teachers for the PRC—two regular members and an alternate. The alternate is needed if one of the regular members is the teacher who ordered removal. The principal appoints the other member “from the professional staff of the campus.” So the PRC consists of two teachers chosen by the faculty, and one “professional staff” person chosen by the principal. That person could be an administrator, librarian, nurse, counselor or teacher.
So let’s assume that Mr. Dimwitty, a 6th grade math teacher, orders the removal of a student. The CBC conducts the conference and decides that the student should return to Mr. Dimwitty’s class. Mr. D balks, refusing to consent to the student’s return. That’s when the PRC must meet. The principal cannot override Mr. Dimwitty, but the PRC can. However, it can do this only if it concludes that “such placement is the best or only alternative available.” T.E.C. 37.002(c).
If the student is in your special education program, there are, of course, other factors to consider. The statute (37.003(c)) tells us that the PRC’s decision “is subject to the requirements of the IDEA and federal regulations, state statutes, and agency requirements necessary to carry out federal law or regulations or state law relating to special education.” Translation: the PRC cannot make a decision that amounts to a “change of placement.” That would have to go to the ARD Committee.
The Dawg is under the impression that there are more than a few Texas schools that do not have a PRC. Of course the PRC serves a limited function. You could get through an entire school year or seven of them without a need to convene the PRC. Nevertheless, we think it’s better to choose the membership of the PRC before there is a need for one. If a dispute between teacher and CBC is already brewing, it may be more difficult to find the right people to serve in this position.
DAWG BONE: DON’T HAVE A PRC? CREATE ONE.
Tomorrow: 5TH Circuit ruling in favor of Northside ISD