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ATPE defends requirement that school counselors have classroom experience

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Educator Preparation | Certification Texas Legislature Educator Rights School Safety

Date Posted: 3/08/2023 | Author: Mark Wiggins

The Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) submitted testimony to the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday defending the requirement that school counselors have at least two years of classroom experience.

Senate Bill (SB) 798 by state Sen. Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston) would eliminate the requirement that school counselors have classroom experience. ATPE joined the Texas Association of Counselors (TXCA) in opposing the bill, pointing out that classroom experience is a key competency required by the Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs, which has served as the foundation for school counseling in Texas since 1991.

The committee also considered the following bills:

  • SB 68 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-El Paso), which would allow up to two excused absences per year for a student to attend a career investigation day during the student’s junior and senior year in high school.
  • SB 891 by Zaffirini, which would require a school district to excuse a student from school for a maximum of five days per school year to receive mental health treatment. The bill allows a district to require the student to provide previous documentation or be seen by a school counselor or similar district professional with written consent from a parent or guardian. Sen. Zaffirini submitted a committee substitute which she explained was simply a draft prepared by the Texas Legislative Council, who serve as the official legislative drafting attorneys for the legislature.
  • SB 133 by Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas), which would prohibit a school resource officer from restraining or using a chemical irritant spray on a student 10 years of age or younger unless that student poses a serious risk of harm to the student or another person.
  • SB 294 by Sen. Nathan Johnson (D-Dallas), which would allow schools to adopt a policy on the maintenance and administration of medication for respiratory distress, including training and policies for providing medication for respiratory distress to a student who has not been diagnosed with a respiratory condition. The bill includes a reporting framework following the administration of this medication. Johnson submitted a committee substitute that clarifies that this is not a mandatory policy.
  • SB 629 by Sen. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio), which would add a similar policy on the maintenance and administration of opioid antagonists for use on a person experiencing an opioid-related drug overdose. Sen. Menendez indicated he is working on a committee substitute that will include provisions for parental informed consent.
  • SB 357 by Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood), which would permit a school district board of trustees to allow an honorably retired police officer to serve as an armed guard on school premises. Current law permits a board to allow a commissioned peace officer to serve as an armed guard. Hall indicated his office is working on language to ensure that a participating retiree is up-to-date on training.


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