Toolbox Tuesday: parental involvement with threat assessments….

This week at the Daily Dawg we are looking at new legislation.  This being Toolbox Tuesday, we bring to your attention SB 473 and its implications for students with disabilities. 

SB 473 is a short one:

Before a team may conduct a threat assessment of a student, the team must notify the parent of or person standing in parental relation to the student regarding the assessment. In conducting the assessment, the team shall provide an opportunity for the parent or person to:

(1) Participate in the assessment, either in person or remotely; and

(2) Submit to the team information regarding the student.

After completing a threat assessment of a student, the team shall provide to the parent of or person standing in parental relation to the student the team’s findings and conclusions regarding the student.

You will find this new law at Texas Education Code 37.115(f-1) and (f-2).  It goes into effect with the start of the school year.  For today, I want to point out three things. 

First, the law seems designed to provide transparency for parents and to protect their rights.  However, it does not go as far in that direction as some may have wanted.  It’s significant that the statute requires NOTICE to the parent, but not CONSENT.   Section 37.115(f) continues to say that the threat assessment team “SHALL” conduct a threat assessment. 

Second, even though consent is not required by law, it is difficult for districts to conduct a thorough threat assessment without parental involvement and cooperation.  If a parent is effectively impeding the process, the district needs to document its efforts and proceed as well as it can.

Third, if the student has a disability it’s important for the student’s ARD Committee to be included in the process of gathering information. In effect, that automatically brings the parents into the process, since they are members of the ARDC.  In that sense, the new requirement of “notice” to the parent that the district intends to conduct a threat assessment may have minimal impact on parents of kids with IEPs.  They were probably already in the loop. 

By the way, some of you Daily Dawg newbies may not know what “Toolbox Tuesday” is about.  The Toolbox is our firm’s all day training about maintaining safety while simultaneously effectively serving students who present challenging behaviors. Interested?  Let me hear from you.


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Tomorrow: is it safe to yell “Kill the Umpire!”