Physical restraint bill considered by House Select Committee on Youth Health and Safety
Texas Legislature School Safety
Date Posted: 3/23/2023 | Author: Tricia Cave
The House Select Committee on Youth Health and Safety met Monday, March 20, 2023, to consider 13
bills, seven of which are related to public education.
As filed, HB 459 by Rep. Lacey Hull (R–Houston) would prohibit the use of physical restraints (such as handcuffs) or chemical irritants by a school peace officer on public school students 10 years of age or younger. The bill would extend a similar provision that currently applies to educators. However, ATPE has learned the bill’s author intends to add another bill’s language to HB 459 that would ban the use of prone and supine restraint in public schools. Although these types of student restraints should be a last resort for educators and are not without risk to the student and educator, there are situations in which the use of student restraint by an educator properly trained in its administration is the best or only available option to protect the health and safety of the student being restrained, other students, or staff.
After learning this language may be added, ATPE Lobbyist Tricia Cave testified neutrally on the bill and asked that if HB 459 were to move forward, it do so as originally drafted.
In addition to speaking on HB 459, ATPE registered support for HB 98 by Rep. Joe Moody (D–El Paso), which would allow districts to be reimbursed by Medicaid for providing mental health services on campus.
Other education-related bills taken up during the hearing included:
- HB 249 by Rep. Glenn Rogers (R–Mineral Wells), which would allow retired military and law enforcement to serve as school security volunteers.
- HB 516 by Rep. Gene Wu (D–Houston), which would require school districts and charter schools to report data on discipline or law enforcement actions taken against students.
- HB 655 by Rep. Steve Allison (R–San Antonio), which would require virtual placement and instruction for students who engage in habitually violent behavior.
- HB 1626 by Rep. Alma Allen (D–Houston), related to a student’s transition from an alternative education program to a regular classroom.
- HB 2857 by Rep. Harold Dutton (D–Houston), which would allow for flexibility in dealing with students who possess prohibited substances instead of requiring automatic removal to an alternative education program.
The committee is expected to meet again Thursday to vote on pending business it did not have time to address Monday.
As anticipated, the House Select Committee on Youth Health and Safety held a formal meeting on Thursday, March 23, 2023, to consider pending business. Bills voted favorably out of committee include:
HB 473 by Hull, which would require schools to notify parents before conducting a threat assessment on a student. ATPE supported this bill.
HB 669 by Rep. Shawn Thierry (D–Houston), which would require school districts to equip each classroom with a panic device. ATPE supported this bill.
HB 1157 by Rep. J.M. Lozano (R–Kingsville) , which would allow students to have excused absences for mental health care appointments.
HB 1358 by Rep. Sam Harless (R–Houston), which would require that campus improvement plans have academic and performance objectives; goals for violence, bullying, and dropout prevention; and a program to encourage parental involvement in schools. ATPE supported this bill.
HB 249 by Rogers, which would allow retired police or military veterans to volunteer as school security.
HB 516 by Wu, which creates a reporting requirement for schools to report disciplinary or law enforcement actions against students, including citations, use of weapons, OC sprays (pepper spray), arrests, and restraints.
HB 1626 by Allen, which would require schools to admit students regardless of their criminal, juvenile, or disciplinary history, and to create a transition plan for students moving from alternative education programs.
HB 98 by Moody, which would allow districts to be reimbursed by Medicaid for providing mental health services on campus. ATPE supported this bill.
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