Right click here to print this page.
Education Code - Attendance Policy, Excused Absence, use of Legal Surname, and Enrollment
11/13/2011

EDUCATION CODE
SUBTITLE E. STUDENTS AND PARENTS
CHAPTER 25. ADMISSION, TRANSFER, AND ATTENDANCE
SUBCHAPTER A. ADMISSION AND ENROLLMENT

Sec. 25.001. ADMISSION. (a) A person who is at least five years of age and under 21 years of age on the first day of September of any school year is entitled to the benefits of the available school fund for that year. Any other person enrolled in a prekindergarten class under Section 29.153 is entitled to the benefits of the available school fund.

(b) The board of trustees of a school district or its designee shall admit into the public schools of the district free of tuition a person who is over five and younger than 21 years of age on the first day of September of the school year in which admission is sought if:

(1) the person and either parent of the person reside in the school district;

(2) the person does not reside in the school district but a parent of the person resides in the school district and that parent is a joint managing conservator or the sole managing conservator or possessory conservator of the person;

(3) the person and the person's guardian or other person having lawful control of the person under a court order reside within the school district;

(4) the person has established a separate residence under Subsection (d);

(5) the person is homeless, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 11302, regardless of the residence of the person, of either parent of the person, or of the person's guardian or other person having lawful control of the person;

(6) the person is a foreign exchange student placed with a host family that resides in the school district by a nationally recognized foreign exchange program, unless the school district has applied for and been granted a waiver by the commissioner under Subsection (e);

(7) the person resides at a residential facility located in the district; or

(8) the person resides in the school district and is 18 years of age or older or the person's disabilities of minority have been removed.

(c) The board of trustees of a school district or the board's designee may require evidence that a person is eligible to attend the public schools of the district at the time the board or its designee considers an application for admission of the person. The board of trustees or its designee shall establish minimum proof of residency acceptable to the district. The board of trustees or its designee may make reasonable inquiries to verify a person's eligibility for admission.

(d) For a person under the age of 18 years to establish a residence for the purpose of attending the public schools separate and apart from the person's parent, guardian, or other person having lawful control of the person under a court order, it must be established that the person's presence in the school district is not for the primary purpose of participation in extracurricular activities. The board of trustees shall determine whether an applicant for admission is a resident of the school district for purposes of attending the public schools and may adopt reasonable guidelines for making a determination as necessary to protect the best interests of students. The board of trustees is not required to admit a person under this subsection if the person:

(1) has engaged in conduct or misbehavior within the preceding year that has resulted in:

(A) removal to a disciplinary alternative education program; or

(B) expulsion;

(2) has engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct in need of supervision and is on probation or other conditional release for that conduct; or

(3) has been convicted of a criminal offense and is on probation or other conditional release.

(e) A school district may request that the commissioner waive the requirement that the district admit a foreign exchange student who meets the conditions of Subsection (b)(5). The commissioner shall respond to a district's request not later than the 60th day after the date of receipt of the request. The commissioner shall grant the request and issue a waiver effective for a period not to exceed three years if the commissioner determines that admission of a foreign exchange student would:

(1) create a financial or staffing hardship for the district;

(2) diminish the district's ability to provide high quality educational services for the district's domestic students; or

(3) require domestic students to compete with foreign exchange students for educational resources.

(f) A child placed in foster care by an agency of the state or by a political subdivision shall be permitted to attend the public schools in the district in which the foster parents reside free of any charge to the foster parents or the agency. A durational residence requirement may not be used to prohibit that child from fully participating in any activity sponsored by the school district.

(g) A student enrolled in high school in grade 9, 10, 11, or 12 who is placed in temporary foster care by the Texas Department of Human Services at a residence outside the attendance area for the school or outside the school district is entitled to complete high school at the school in which the student was enrolled at the time of placement without payment of tuition.

(h) In addition to the penalty provided by Section 37.10, Penal Code, a person who knowingly falsifies information on a form required for enrollment of a student in a school district is liable to the district if the student is not eligible for enrollment in the district but is enrolled on the basis of the false information. The person is liable, for the period during which the ineligible student is enrolled, for the greater of:

(1) the maximum tuition fee the district may charge under Section 25.038; or

(2) the amount the district has budgeted for each student as maintenance and operating expenses.

(i) A school district may include on an enrollment form notice of the penalties provided by Section 37.10, Penal Code, and of the liability provided by Subsection (h) for falsifying information on the form.

(j) For the purposes of this subchapter, the board of trustees of a school district by policy may allow a person showing evidence of legal responsibility for a child other than an order of a court to substitute for a guardian or other person having lawful control of the child under an order of a court.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1019, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 396, Sec. 2.08, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1055, Sec. 2, eff. June 20, 2003.

Sec. 25.0011. CERTAIN INCARCERATED CHILDREN. (a) For purposes of Section 25.001, a person is not considered to reside in a school district if:

(1) the person is incarcerated in a private juvenile detention facility in the district as a result of the order of a court in another state; and

(2) the person resided in another state or country immediately before incarceration in the facility.

(b) A school district may provide educational services to a person described by Subsection (a) if the district is fully compensated for the cost of the services through payment of tuition for the person by the operator of the juvenile detention facility or other person having lawful control of the person in an amount equal to the actual cost of educating the person.

(c) For purposes of this section, "private juvenile detention facility" means a juvenile detention facility that is not operated by a governmental entity.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1477, Sec. 30, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 25.002. REQUIREMENTS FOR ENROLLMENT. (a) Not later than the 30th day after the date a parent or other person with legal control of a child under a court order enrolls the child in a public school, the parent or other person or the school district in which the child most recently attended school shall furnish to the school district:

(1) the child's birth certificate or another document suitable as proof of the child's identity;

(2) a copy of the child's records from the school the child most recently attended if the child has been previously enrolled in a school in this state or another state; and

(3) a record showing that the child has the immunizations as required under Section 38.001, in the case of a child required under that section to be immunized, proof as required by that section showing that the child is not required to be immunized, or proof that the child is entitled to provisional admission under that section and under rules adopted under that section.

(b) If a child is enrolled under a name other than the child's name as it appears in the identifying document or records, the school district shall notify the missing children and missing persons information clearinghouse of the child's name as shown on the identifying document or records and the name under which the child is enrolled. The information in the notice is confidential and may be released only to a law enforcement agency.

(c) If the information required by Subsection (a) is not furnished to the district within the period provided by that subsection, the district shall notify the police department of the municipality or sheriff's department of the county in which the district is located and request a determination of whether the child has been reported as missing.

(d) When accepting a child for enrollment, the school district shall inform the parent or other person enrolling the child that presenting a false document or false records under this section is an offense under Section 37.10, Penal Code, and that enrollment of the child under false documents subjects the person to liability for tuition or costs under Section 25.001(h).

(e) A person commits an offense if the person enrolls a child in a public school and fails to furnish an identifying document or record relating to the child on the request of a law enforcement agency conducting an investigation in response to a notification under Subsection (c). An offense under this subsection is a Class B misdemeanor.

(f) Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, for a child to be enrolled in a public school, the child must be enrolled by the child's parent or by the child's guardian or other person with legal control of the child under a court order. A school district shall record the name, address, and date of birth of the person enrolling a child.

(g) A school district shall accept a child for enrollment in a public school without the documentation required by Subsection (a) if the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services has taken possession of the child under Chapter 262, Family Code. The Department of Protective and Regulatory Services shall ensure that the documentation required by Subsection (a) is furnished to the school district not later than the 30th day after the date the child is enrolled in the school.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 575, Sec. 34, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1514, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 234, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 25.0021. USE OF LEGAL SURNAME. In each public school a student must be identified by the student's legal surname as that name appears:

(1) on the student's birth certificate or other document suitable as proof of the student's identity; or

(2) in a court order changing the student's name.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1300, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 25.003. TUITION FOR CERTAIN CHILDREN FROM OTHER STATES. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, a school district shall charge tuition for a child who resides at a residential facility and whose maintenance expenses are paid in whole or in part by another state or the United States.

(b) A tuition charge under this section must be submitted to the commissioner for approval.

(c) The attendance of the child is not counted for purposes of allocating state funds to the district.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 396, Sec. 2.09, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 25.004. TUITION FOR CERTAIN MILITARY DEPENDENTS PROHIBITED. A school district may not charge tuition for the attendance of a student who is domiciled in another state and resides in military housing that is located in the district but is exempt from taxation by the district.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 526, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 11, 2001.

Sec. 25.005. RECIPROCITY AGREEMENTS REGARDING MILITARY PERSONNEL AND DEPENDENTS. (a) To facilitate the transfer of military personnel and their dependents to and from the public schools of this state, the agency shall pursue reciprocity agreements with other states governing the terms of those transfers.

(b) A reciprocity agreement must:

(1) address procedures for:

(A) transferring student records;

(B) awarding credit for completed course work; and

(C) permitting a student to satisfy the requirements of Section 39.025 through successful performance on comparable exit-level assessment instruments administered in another state; and

(2) include appropriate criteria developed by the agency.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1073, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 149, Sec. 24, eff. May 27, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 445, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003.

SUBCHAPTER B. ASSIGNMENTS AND TRANSFERS

Sec. 25.031. ASSIGNMENTS AND TRANSFERS IN DISCRETION OF GOVERNING BOARD. In conformity with this subchapter, the board of trustees of a school district or the board of county school trustees or a school employee designated by the board may assign and transfer any student from one school facility or classroom to another within its jurisdiction.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 25.032. BASIS FOR ASSIGNMENT OR TRANSFER. The board of trustees of a school district, the board of county school trustees, or the person acting for the board must make the decision concerning the assignment or transfer of a student on an individual basis and may not consider as a factor in its decision any matter relating to the national origin of the student or the student's ancestral language.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 25.033. ASSIGNMENT OR TRANSFER ON PETITION OF PARENT. The parent or person standing in parental relation to any student may by petition in writing either:

(1) request the assignment or transfer of the student to a designated school or to a school to be designated by the board; or

(2) file objections to the assignment of the student to the school to which the student has been assigned.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 25.034. HEARING; ACTION ON PETITION; APPEAL. (a) On receiving a petition under Section 25.033, the board of trustees of the school district or the board of county school trustees shall:

(1) if a hearing is not requested, act on the petition not later than the 30th day after the date the petition is submitted and notify the petitioner of the board's conclusion; or

(2) if a hearing is requested, designate a time and place for holding a hearing not later than the 30th day after the date the petition is submitted.

(b) If a hearing is requested, it shall be conducted by the board in compliance with this section.

(c) The petitioner may present evidence relevant to the individual student.

(d) The board may conduct investigations as to the objection or request, examine any student involved, and employ agents, professional or otherwise, for the purpose of examinations and investigations.

(e) The board must grant the request made in the petition unless the board determines that there is a reasonable basis for denying the request. The decision of the board, either with or without hearing, is final unless the student, or the parent, guardian, or custodian of the student as next friend, files exception to the decision of the board as constituting a denial of any right of the student guaranteed under the United States Constitution.

(f) If an exception is filed under Subsection (e), the board may reconsider its decision. If the board has not ruled on the exception before the 16th day after the date of the filing, the exception is considered overruled. If the exception is overruled, an appeal of the board's decision may be filed in the district court of the county in which the board is located. The petition must:

(1) be filed not later than the 30th day after the date of the board's final decision; and

(2) state the facts relevant to the student that relate to the alleged denial of the student's rights under the United States Constitution.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 25.035. TRANSFERS BETWEEN DISTRICTS OR COUNTIES. The boards of trustees of two or more adjoining school districts or the boards of county school trustees of two or more adjoining counties may, by agreement and in accordance with Sections 25.032, 25.033, and 25.034, arrange for the transfer and assignment of any student from the jurisdiction of one board to that of another. In the case of the transfer and assignment of a student under this section, the participating governing boards shall also agree to the transfer of school funds or other payments proportionate to the transfer of attendance.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 25.036. TRANSFER OF STUDENT. (a) Any child, other than a high school graduate, who is younger than 21 years of age and eligible for enrollment on September 1 of any school year may transfer annually from the child's school district of residence to another district in this state if both the receiving district and the applicant parent or guardian or person having lawful control of the child jointly approve and timely agree in writing to the transfer.

(b) A transfer agreement under this section shall be filed and preserved as a receiving district record for audit purposes of the agency.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 25.037. TRANSFER OF STATE FUNDS. On the timely filing with the agency of notice of a child's transfer and certification by the agency of the transfer, the state available school fund apportionment transfers with the child. For purposes of computing state allotments to school districts under the Foundation School Program, the attendance of the child before the date of transfer is counted by the transfer sending district and the attendance of the child after the date of transfer is counted by the transfer receiving district.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 25.038. TUITION FEE FOR TRANSFER STUDENTS. The receiving school district may charge a tuition fee to the extent that the district's actual expenditure per student in average daily attendance, as determined by its board of trustees, exceeds the sum the district benefits from state aid sources as provided by Section 25.037. However, unless a tuition fee is prescribed and set out in a transfer agreement before its execution by the parties, an increase in tuition charge may not be made for the year of that transfer that exceeds the tuition charge, if any, of the preceding school year.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 25.039. CONTRACTS AND TUITION FOR EDUCATION OUTSIDE DISTRICT. (a) A school district that does not offer each grade level from kindergarten through grade 12 may provide by contract for students residing in the district who are at grade levels not offered by the district to be educated at those grade levels in one or more other districts. In each contract, the districts also shall agree to the transfer of school funds or other payments proportionate to the transfer of attendance.

(b) The school district in which the students reside shall pay tuition to any district with which it has a contract under this section for each of its students attending school in that district at a grade level for which the district has contracted. The amount of the tuition paid may not exceed the greater of the amount provided for by Section 25.038 or an amount specified by commissioner rule.

(c) A school district is not required to pay tuition to any district with which it has not contracted for the attendance by any of its students at a grade level for which it has contracted under this section with another district.

(d) A contract under this section may not be for a period exceeding five years.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 396, Sec. 1.32, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1069, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 25.040. TRANSFER TO DISTRICT OF BORDERING STATE. Any child entitled to attend the public school of any school district situated on the border of Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, or New Mexico who finds it more convenient to attend the public school in a district in the contiguous state may have the apportionment of the state and county available school funds paid to the school district of the contiguous state and may have additional tuition, if necessary, paid by the district of the child's residence on terms agreed on by the trustees of the receiving district and the trustees of the residence district.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 25.041. TRANSFER OF CHILDREN OR WARDS OF EMPLOYEES OF STATE SCHOOLS. A school-age child or ward of an employee of a state school for the mentally retarded constituted as a school district who resides in the boundaries of the state school property but who is not a student at the state school is entitled to attend school in a district adjacent to the state school free of any charge to the child's or ward's parent or guardian provided the parent or guardian is required by the superintendent of the state school to live on the grounds of the state school for the convenience of this state. A tuition charge required by the admitting district shall be paid by the district constituting the state school out of funds allotted to it by the agency.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 25.042. TRANSFER OF CHILDREN OF EMPLOYEES OF TEXAS YOUTH COMMISSION FACILITIES. A school-age child of an employee of a facility of the Texas Youth Commission is entitled to attend school in a school district adjacent to the district in which the student resides free of any charge to the student's parents or guardian. Any tuition charge required by the admitting district shall be paid by the district from which the student transfers out of any funds appropriated to the facility.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

SUBCHAPTER C. OPERATION OF SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL ATTENDANCE

Sec. 25.081. OPERATION OF SCHOOLS. (a) Except as authorized under Subsection (b) of this section, Section 25.084, or Section 29.0821, for each school year each school district must operate so that the district provides for at least 180 days of instruction for students.

(b) The commissioner may approve the instruction of students for fewer than the number of days required under Subsection (a) if disaster, flood, extreme weather conditions, fuel curtailment, or another calamity causes the closing of schools.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 824, Sec. 2, eff. June 20, 2003.

Sec. 25.0811. FIRST DAY OF INSTRUCTION. (a) A school district may not begin instruction for students for a school year before the week in which August 21 falls. For purposes of this subsection, Sunday is considered the first day of the week.

(b) If a school district intends to apply under Section 7.056 for a waiver of the prohibition prescribed by Subsection (a), the district must:

(1) at least 60 days before the date the district submits the application for the waiver, publish notice in a newspaper having general circulation in the district:

(A) stating that the district intends to apply for a waiver of the prohibition concerning the date of the first day of instruction for students; and

(B) specifying the date on which the district intends to begin instruction for students; and

(2) hold a public hearing concerning the date of the first day of instruction for students.

(c) The application for a waiver of the prohibition prescribed by Subsection (a) must include a summary of the opinions expressed at the public hearing held under Subsection (b)(2), including any consensus of opinion expressed concerning the date of the first day of instruction for students.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 909, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 25.082. SCHOOL DAY; PLEDGES OF ALLEGIANCE; MINUTE OF SILENCE. (a) A school day shall be at least seven hours each day, including intermissions and recesses.

(b) The board of trustees of each school district shall require students, once during each school day at each school in the district, to recite:

(1) the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag in accordance with 4 U.S.C. Section 4, and its subsequent amendments; and

(2) the pledge of allegiance to the state flag in accordance with Subchapter C, Chapter 3100, Government Code.

(c) On written request from a student's parent or guardian, a school district shall excuse the student from reciting a pledge of allegiance under Subsection (b).

(d) The board of trustees of each school district shall provide for the observance of one minute of silence at each school in the district following the recitation of the pledges of allegiance to the United States and Texas flags under Subsection (b). During the one-minute period, each student may, as the student chooses, reflect, pray, meditate, or engage in any other silent activity that is not likely to interfere with or distract another student. Each teacher or other school employee in charge of students during that period shall ensure that each of those students remains silent and does not act in a manner that is likely to interfere with or distract another student.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 126, Sec. 1, 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 25.083. SCHOOL DAY INTERRUPTIONS. The board of trustees of each school district shall adopt and strictly enforce a policy limiting interruptions of classes during the school day for nonacademic activities such as announcements and sales promotions. At a minimum, the policy must limit announcements other than emergency announcements to once during the school day.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 25.084. YEAR-ROUND SYSTEM. (a) A school district may operate its schools year-round on either a single-track or a multitrack calendar. If a school district adopts a year-round system, the district may modify:

(1) the number of contract days of employees and the number of days of operation, including any time required for staff development, planning and preparation, and continuing education, otherwise required by law;

(2) testing dates, data reporting, and related matters;

(3) the date of the first day of instruction of the school year under Section 25.0811 for a school that was operating year-round for the 2000-2001 school year; and

(4) a student's eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities when the student's calendar track is not in session.

(b) The operation of schools year-round by a district does not affect the amount of state funds to which the district is entitled under Chapter 42.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 909, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 25.085. COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE. (a) A child who is required to attend school under this section shall attend school each school day for the entire period the program of instruction is provided.

(b) Unless specifically exempted by Section 25.086, a child who is at least six years of age, or who is younger than six years of age and has previously been enrolled in first grade, and who has not yet reached the child's 18th birthday shall attend school.

(c) On enrollment in prekindergarten or kindergarten, a child shall attend school.

(d) Unless specifically exempted by Section 25.086, a student enrolled in a school district must attend:

(1) an extended-year program for which the student is eligible that is provided by the district for students identified as likely not to be promoted to the next grade level or tutorial classes required by the district under Section 29.084;

(2) an accelerated reading instruction program to which the student is assigned under Section 28.006(g);

(3) an accelerated instruction program to which the student is assigned under Section 28.0211;

(4) a basic skills program to which the student is assigned under Section 29.086; or

(5) a summer program provided under Section 37.008(l) or Section 37.021.

(e) A person who voluntarily enrolls in school or voluntarily attends school after the person's 18th birthday shall attend school each school day for the entire period the program of instruction is offered. A school district may revoke for the remainder of the school year the enrollment of a person who has more than five absences in a semester that are not excused under Section 25.087. A person whose enrollment is revoked under this subsection may be considered an unauthorized person on school district grounds for purposes of Section 37.107.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1019, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 396, Sec. 2.10, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 711, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1055, Sec. 3, eff. June 20, 2003.

Sec. 25.086. EXEMPTIONS. (a) A child is exempt from the requirements of compulsory school attendance if the child:

(1) attends a private or parochial school that includes in its course a study of good citizenship;

(2) is eligible to participate in a school district's special education program under Section 29.003 and cannot be appropriately served by the resident district;

(3) has a physical or mental condition of a temporary and remediable nature that makes the child's attendance infeasible and holds a certificate from a qualified physician specifying the temporary condition, indicating the treatment prescribed to remedy the temporary condition, and covering the anticipated period of the child's absence from school for the purpose of receiving and recuperating from that remedial treatment;

(4) is expelled in accordance with the requirements of law in a school district that does not participate in a mandatory juvenile justice alternative education program under Section 37.011;

(5) is at least 17 years of age and:

(A) is attending a course of instruction to prepare for the high school equivalency examination, and:

(i) has the permission of the child's parent or guardian to attend the course;

(ii) is required by court order to attend the course;

(iii) has established a residence separate and apart from the child's parent, guardian, or other person having lawful control of the child; or

(iv) is homeless as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 11302; or

(B) has received a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate;

(6) is at least 16 years of age and is attending a course of instruction to prepare for the high school equivalency examination, if:

(A) the child is recommended to take the course of instruction by a public agency that has supervision or custody of the child under a court order; or

(B) the child is enrolled in a Job Corps training program under the Job Training Partnership Act (29 U.S.C. Section 1501 et seq.), and its subsequent amendments;

(7) is enrolled in the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science;

(8) is enrolled in the Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities; or

(9) is specifically exempted under another law.

(b) This section does not relieve a school district in which a child eligible to participate in the district's special education program resides of its fiscal and administrative responsibilities under Subchapter A, Chapter 29, or of its responsibility to provide a free appropriate public education to a child with a disability.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1015, Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1019, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1282, Sec. 2, eff. June 18, 1999.

Sec. 25.087. EXCUSED ABSENCES. (a) A person required to attend school, including a person required to attend school under Section 25.085(e), may be excused for temporary absence resulting from any cause acceptable to the teacher, principal, or superintendent of the school in which the person is enrolled.

(b) A school district shall excuse a student from attending school for the purpose of observing religious holy days, including traveling for that purpose. A school district shall excuse a student for temporary absence resulting from health care professionals if that student commences classes or returns to school on the same day of the appointment. A student whose absence is excused under this subsection may not be penalized for that absence and shall be counted as if the student attended school for purposes of calculating the average daily attendance of students in the school district. A student whose absence is excused under this subsection shall be allowed a reasonable time to make up school work missed on those days. If the student satisfactorily completes the school work, the day of absence shall be counted as a day of compulsory attendance.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 651, Sec. 1, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 711, Sec. 2, eff. June 18, 1999.

Sec. 25.088. SCHOOL ATTENDANCE OFFICER. The school attendance officer may be selected by:

(1) the county school trustees of any county;

(2) the board of trustees of any school district or the boards of trustees of two or more school districts jointly; or

(3) the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1504, Sec. 21, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 25.089. COMPENSATION OF ATTENDANCE OFFICER; DUAL SERVICE. (a) An attendance officer may be compensated from the funds of the county, independent school district, or open-enrollment charter school, as applicable.

(b) An attendance officer may be the probation officer or an officer of the juvenile court of the county.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1504, Sec. 22, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 25.090. ATTENDANCE OFFICER NOT SELECTED. (a) In those counties and independent school districts where an attendance officer has not been selected, the duties of attendance officer shall be performed by the school superintendents and peace officers of the counties and districts.

(b) If the governing body of an open-enrollment charter school has not selected an attendance officer, the duties of attendance officer shall be performed by the peace officers of the county in which the school is located.

(c) Additional compensation may not be paid for services performed under this section.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1504, Sec. 23, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 25.091. POWERS AND DUTIES OF PEACE OFFICERS AND OTHER ATTENDANCE OFFICERS. (a) A peace officer serving as an attendance officer has the following powers and duties concerning enforcement of compulsory school attendance requirements:

(1) to investigate each case of a violation of compulsory school attendance requirements referred to the peace officer;

(2) to enforce compulsory school attendance requirements by:

(A) referring a student to a juvenile court or filing a complaint against a student in a county, justice, or municipal court if the student has unexcused absences for the amount of time specified under Section 25.094 or under Section 51.03(b)(2), Family Code; and

(B) filing a complaint in a county, justice, or municipal court against a parent who violates Section 25.093;

(3) to serve court-ordered legal process;

(4) to review school attendance records for compliance by each student investigated by the officer;

(5) to maintain an investigative record on each compulsory school attendance requirement violation and related court action and, at the request of a court, the board of trustees of a school district, or the commissioner, to provide a record to the individual or entity requesting the record;

(6) to make a home visit or otherwise contact the parent of a student who is in violation of compulsory school attendance requirements, except that a peace officer may not enter a residence without the permission of the parent of a student required under this subchapter to attend school or of the tenant or owner of the residence except to lawfully serve court-ordered legal process on the parent; and

(7) to take a student into custody with the permission of the student's parent or in obedience to a court-ordered legal process.

(b) An attendance officer employed by a school district who is not commissioned as a peace officer has the following powers and duties with respect to enforcement of compulsory school attendance requirements:

(1) to investigate each case of a violation of the compulsory school attendance requirements referred to the attendance officer;

(2) to enforce compulsory school attendance requirements by:

(A) referring a student to a juvenile court or filing a complaint against a student in a county, justice, or municipal court if the student has unexcused absences for the amount of time specified under Section 25.094 or under Section 51.03(b)(2), Family Code; and

(B) filing a complaint in a county, justice, or municipal court against a parent who violates Section 25.093;

(3) to monitor school attendance compliance by each student investigated by the officer;

(4) to maintain an investigative record on each compulsory school attendance requirement violation and related court action and, at the request of a court, the board of trustees of a school district, or the commissioner, to provide a record to the individual or entity requesting the record;

(5) to make a home visit or otherwise contact the parent of a student who is in violation of compulsory school attendance requirements, except that the attendance officer may not enter a residence without permission of the parent or of the owner or tenant of the residence;

(6) at the request of a parent, to escort a student from any location to a school campus to ensure the student's compliance with compulsory school attendance requirements; and

(7) if the attendance officer has or is informed of a court-ordered legal process directing that a student be taken into custody and the school district employing the officer does not employ its own police department, to contact the sheriff, constable, or any peace officer to request that the student be taken into custody and processed according to the legal process.

(c) In this section:

(1) "Parent" includes a person standing in parental relation.

(2) "Peace officer" has the meaning assigned by Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1514, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 137, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 25.092. MINIMUM ATTENDANCE FOR CLASS CREDIT. (a) Except as provided by this section, a student may not be given credit for a class unless the student is in attendance for at least 90 percent of the days the class is offered.

(b) The board of trustees of each school district shall appoint one or more attendance committees to hear petitions for class credit by students who are in attendance fewer than the number of days required under Subsection (a). Classroom teachers shall comprise a majority of the membership of the committee. A committee may give class credit to a student because of extenuating circumstances. Each board of trustees shall establish guidelines to determine what constitutes extenuating circumstances and shall adopt policies establishing alternative ways for students to make up work or regain credit lost because of absences. The alternative ways must include at least one option that does not require a student to pay a fee authorized under Section 11.158(a)(15). A certified public school employee may not be assigned additional instructional duties as a result of this section outside of the regular workday unless the employee is compensated for the duties at a reasonable rate of pay.

(c) A member of an attendance committee is not personally liable for any act or omission arising out of duties as a member of an attendance committee.

(d) If a student is denied credit for a class by an attendance committee, the student may appeal the decision to the board of trustees. The decision of the board may be appealed by trial de novo to the district court of the county in which the school district's central administrative office is located.

(e) This section does not affect the provision of Section 25.087(b) regarding a student's excused absence from school to observe religious holy days.

(f) The availability of the option developed under Subsection (b) must be substantially the same as the availability of the educational program developed under Section 11.158(a)(15).

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 698, Sec. 2, eff. June 18, 1999.

Sec. 25.093. PARENT CONTRIBUTING TO NONATTENDANCE. (a) If a warning is issued as required by Section 25.095(a), the parent with criminal negligence fails to require the child to attend school as required by law, and the child has absences for the amount of time specified under Section 25.094, the parent commits an offense.

(b) The attendance officer or other appropriate school official shall file a complaint against the parent in:

(1) the constitutional county court of the county in which the parent resides or in which the school is located, if the county has a population of two million or more;

(2) a justice court of any precinct in the county in which the parent resides or in which the school is located; or

(3) a municipal court of the municipality in which the parent resides or in which the school is located.

(c) An offense under Subsection (a) is a Class C misdemeanor. Each day the child remains out of school may constitute a separate offense. Two or more offenses under Subsection (a) may be consolidated and prosecuted in a single action. If the court orders deferred disposition under Article 45.051, Code of Criminal Procedure, the court may require the defendant to provide personal services to a charitable or educational institution as a condition of the deferral.

(d) A fine collected under this section shall be deposited as follows:

(1) one-half shall be deposited to the credit of the operating fund of, as applicable:

(A) the school district in which the child attends school;

(B) the open-enrollment charter school the child attends; or

(C) the juvenile justice alternative education program that the child has been ordered to attend; and

(2) one-half shall be deposited to the credit of:

(A) the general fund of the county, if the complaint is filed in the justice court or the constitutional county court; or

(B) the general fund of the municipality, if the complaint is filed in municipal court.

(e) At the trial of any person charged with violating this section, the attendance records of the child may be presented in court by any authorized employee of the school district or open-enrollment charter school, as applicable.

(f) The court in which a conviction, deferred adjudication, or deferred disposition for an offense under Subsection (a) occurs may order the defendant to attend a program for parents of students with unexcused absences that provides instruction designed to assist those parents in identifying problems that contribute to the students' unexcused absences and in developing strategies for resolving those problems if a program is available.

(g) If a parent refuses to obey a court order entered under this section, the court may punish the parent for contempt of court under Section 21.002, Government Code.

(h) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for an offense under Subsection (a) that one or more of the absences required to be proven under Subsection (a) was excused by a school official or should be excused by the court. The burden is on the defendant to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the absence has been or should be excused. A decision by the court to excuse an absence for purposes of this section does not affect the ability of the school district to determine whether to excuse the absence for another purpose.

(i) In this section, "parent" includes a person standing in parental relation.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 865, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1403, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1504, Sec. 24, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1514, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 137, Sec. 4, 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 283, Sec. 38, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1276, Sec. 6.001, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 25.094. FAILURE TO ATTEND SCHOOL. (a) An individual commits an offense if the individual:

(1) is required to attend school under Section 25.085; and

(2) fails to attend school on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year or on three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period.

(b) An offense under this section may be prosecuted in:

(1) the constitutional county court of the county in which the individual resides or in which the school is located, if the county has a population of two million or more;

(2) a justice court of any precinct in the county in which the individual resides or in which the school is located; or

(3) a municipal court in the municipality in which the individual resides or in which the school is located.

(c) On a finding by the county, justice, or municipal court that the individual has committed an offense under Subsection (a) or on a finding by a juvenile court in a county with a population of less than 100,000 that the individual has engaged in conduct that violates Subsection (a), the court may enter an order that includes one or more of the requirements listed in Article 45.054, Code of Criminal Procedure, as added by Chapter 1514, Acts of the 77th Legislature, Regular Session, 2001.

(d) If the county, justice, or municipal court believes that a child has violated an order issued under Subsection (c), the court may proceed as authorized by Article 45.050, Code of Criminal Procedure.

(d-1) Pursuant to an order of the county, justice, or municipal court based on an affidavit showing probable cause to believe that an individual has committed an offense under this section, a peace officer may take the individual into custody. A peace officer taking an individual into custody under this subsection shall:

(1) promptly notify the individual's parent, guardian, or custodian of the officer's action and the reason for that action; and

(2) without unnecessary delay:

(A) release the individual to the individual's parent, guardian, or custodian or to another responsible adult, if the person promises to bring the individual to the county, justice, or municipal court as requested by the court; or

(B) bring the individual to a county, justice, or municipal court with venue over the offense.

(e) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

(f) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that one or more of the absences required to be proven under Subsection (a) was excused by a school official or should be excused by the court. The burden is on the defendant to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the absence has been or should be excused. A decision by the court to excuse an absence for purposes of this section does not affect the ability of the school district to determine whether to excuse the absence for another purpose.

(g) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that one or more of the absences required to be proven under Subsection (a) was involuntary. The burden is on the defendant to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the absence was involuntary.

(h) Deleted by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1514, Sec. 4.

(i) Deleted by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1514, Sec. 4.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 865, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1297, Sec. 55, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1514, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 137, Sec. 6 to 8, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 283, Sec. 39, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 25.095. WARNING NOTICES. (a) A school district or open-enrollment charter school shall notify a student's parent in writing at the beginning of the school year that if the student is absent from school on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year or on three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period:

(1) the student's parent is subject to prosecution under Section 25.093; and

(2) the student is subject to prosecution under Section 25.094 or to referral to a juvenile court in a county with a population of less than 100,000 for conduct that violates that section.

(b) A school district shall notify a student's parent if the student has been absent from school, without excuse under Section 25.087, on three days or parts of days within a four-week period. The notice must:

(1) inform the parent that:

(A) it is the parent's duty to monitor the student's school attendance and require the student to attend school; and

(B) the parent is subject to prosecution under Section 25.093; and

(2) request a conference between school officials and the parent to discuss the absences.

(c) The fact that a parent did not receive a notice under Subsection (a) or (b) does not create a defense to prosecution under Section 25.093 or 25.094.

(d) In this section, "parent" includes a person standing in parental relation.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1504, Sec. 25, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1514, Sec. 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1276, Sec. 6.002, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 25.0951. SCHOOL DISTRICT COMPLAINT OR REFERRAL FOR FAILURE TO ATTEND SCHOOL. (a) If a student fails to attend school without excuse on 10 or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year, a school district shall:

(1) file a complaint against the student or the student's parent or both in a county, justice, or municipal court for an offense under Section 25.093 or 25.094, as appropriate, or refer the student to a juvenile court in a county with a population of less than 100,000 for conduct that violates Section 25.094; or

(2) refer the student to a juvenile court for conduct indicating a need for supervision under Section 51.03(b)(2), Family Code.

(b) If a student fails to attend school without excuse on three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period but does not fail to attend school for the time described by Subsection (a), the school district may:

(1) file a complaint against the student or the student's parent or both in a county, justice, or municipal court for an offense under Section 25.093 or 25.094, as appropriate, or refer the student to a juvenile court in a county with a population of less than 100,000 for conduct that violates Section 25.094; or

(2) refer the student to a juvenile court for conduct indicating a need for supervision under Section 51.03(b)(2), Family Code.

(c) In this section, "parent" includes a person standing in parental relation.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1514, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 137, Sec. 9, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 25.0952. PROCEDURES APPLICABLE TO SCHOOL ATTENDANCE-RELATED OFFENSES. In a proceeding based on a complaint under Section 25.093 or 25.094, the court shall, except as otherwise provided by this chapter, use the procedures and exercise the powers authorized by Chapter 45, Code of Criminal Procedure.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1514, Sec. 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 137, Sec. 10, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 283, Sec. 40, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

SUBCHAPTER D. STUDENT/TEACHER RATIOS; CLASS SIZE

Sec. 25.111. STUDENT/TEACHER RATIOS. Except as provided by Section 25.112, each school district must employ a sufficient number of teachers certified under Subchapter B, Chapter 21, to maintain an average ratio of not less than one teacher for each 20 students in average daily attendance.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

Sec. 25.112. CLASS SIZE. (a) Except as otherwise authorized by this section, a school district may not enroll more than 22 students in a kindergarten, first, second, third, or fourth grade class. That limitation does not apply during:

(1) any 12-week period of the school year selected by the district, in the case of a district whose average daily attendance is adjusted under Section 42.005(c); or

(2) the last 12 weeks of any school year in the case of any other district.

(b) Not later than the 30th day after the first day of the 12-week period for which a district whose average daily attendance is adjusted under Section 42.005(c) is claiming an exemption under Subsection (a), the district shall notify the commissioner in writing that the district is claiming an exemption for the period stated in the notice.

(c) In determining the number of students to enroll in any class, a school district shall consider the subject to be taught, the teaching methodology to be used, and any need for individual instruction.

(d) On application of a school district, the commissioner may except the district from the limit in Subsection (a) if the commissioner finds the limit works an undue hardship on the district. An exception expires at the end of the semester for which it is granted, and the commissioner may not grant an exception for:

(1) more than one semester at a time.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 889, Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2001.

Sec. 25.113. NOTICE OF CLASS SIZE. (a) A campus or district that is granted an exception under Section 25.112(d) from class size limits shall provide written notice of the exception to the parent of or person standing in parental relation to each student affected by the exception. The notice must be in conspicuous bold or underlined print and:

(1) specify the class for which an exception from the limit imposed by Section 25.112(a) was granted;

(2) state the number of children in the class for which the exception was granted; and

(3) be included in a regular mailing or other communication from the campus or district, such as information sent home with students.

(b) The notice required by Subsection (a) must be provided not later than the 31st day after:

(1) the first day of the school year; or

(2) the date the exception is granted, if the exception is granted after the beginning of the school year.

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 889, Sec. 2, eff. June 14, 2001.

SUBCHAPTER Z. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS RELATING TO STUDENTS

Sec. 25.901. EXERCISE OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO PRAY. A public school student has an absolute right to individually, voluntarily, and silently pray or meditate in school in a manner that does not disrupt the instructional or other activities of the school. A person may not require, encourage, or coerce a student to engage in or refrain from such prayer or meditation during any school activity.

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 1995.