Chapter 61. School Districts
Subchapter EE. Commissioner's Rules on Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect

Statutory Authority: The provisions of this Subchapter EE issued under the
Texas Education Code, 38.004, unless otherwise noted.

61.1051. Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect.

(a) The board of trustees of a school district shall establish and annually review policies for reporting child abuse and neglect. The policies shall follow the requirements outlined in the Family Code, Chapter 261.

(1) The policies must require that every school employee, agent, or contractor who suspects child abuse or neglect submit a written or oral report to at least one of the following authorities within 48 hours or less, as determined by the board of trustees, after learning of facts giving rise to the suspicion:

(A) a local or state law enforcement agency;

(B) the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Service, Child Protective Services Division;

(C) a local office of Child Protective Services, where available; or

(D) the state agency that operates, licenses, certifies, or registers the facility in which the alleged child abuse or neglect occurred.

(2) The policies must notify school personnel of the following:

(A) penalties under the Penal Code, 39.06, Family Code, 261.109, and Chapter 249 of this title (relating to Disciplinary Proceedings, Sanctions, and Contested Cases including Enforcement of the Educator's Code of Ethics) for failure to submit a required report of child abuse or neglect;

(B) applicable prohibitions against interference with an investigation of a report of child abuse or neglect, including the following:

(i) Family Code, 261.302 and 261.303, prohibiting school officials from denying an investigator's request to interview a student at school; and

(ii) Family Code, 261.302, prohibiting school officials from requiring the presence of a parent or school administrator during an interview by an investigator;

(C) immunity provisions applicable to a person who reports child abuse or neglect or otherwise assists an investigation in good faith;

(D) confidentiality provisions relating to reports of suspected child abuse or neglect;

(E) any disciplinary action that may result from noncompliance with the district's reporting policy; and

(F) the prohibition under Texas Education Code (TEC), §26.0091, against using or threatening to use the refusal to consent to administration of a psychotropic drug to a child or to any other psychiatric or psychological testing or treatment of a child as the sole basis for making a report of neglect, except as authorized by TEC, §26.0091.

(3) The policies must be consistent with the Family Code, Chapter 261, and 40 TAC Chapter 700 (relating to Child Protective Services) regarding investigations by the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, including regulations governing investigation of abuse by school personnel and volunteers.

(4) The policies may not require that school personnel report suspicions of child abuse or neglect to a school administrator prior to making a report to one of the agencies identified in subsection (a)(1) of this section.

(5) The policies must include the current toll-free telephone number of the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

(b) The policies required by this section and adopted by the board of trustees must be distributed to all school personnel at the beginning of each school year. The policies shall be addressed in staff development programs at regular intervals determined by the board of trustees.

Source: The provisions of this 61.1051 adopted to be effective December 5, 1999, 24 TexReg 10527; amended to be effective January 20, 2004, 29 TexReg 457.

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