The following was included in TCTA's 2017-18 Survival Guide, the ultimate reference tool for Texas educators, and is current as of September 2017 but is subject to change.

Federal and State Requirements

Federal rules for the Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) require that “to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities ... are educated with children who are nondisabled; and that ... removal of children with disabilities from the regular [classroom] occurs only if the ... disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.”

 

State law says that in a mainstream classroom “students with disabilities and their teachers [must] receive the direct, indirect, and support services ... necessary to enrich the regular classroom and enable student success.” State rules provide that support services include, but are not limited to, co-teaching, direct instruction to special education students, reduction of student/instructional staff ratios and special materials/equipment.

TCTA-initiated legislation requires school districts to develop a process for regular education teachers teaching special education students to request a review of and provide input into the development of a student’s Individualized Education Program. The process must include a provision for a timely district response to the request and district notification to the student’s parent of the district’s response. 

TEA rules also require each school district to ensure that each teacher involved in a student’s instruction has the opportunity to request assistance regarding the implementation of the student’s IEP. 

State law provides that the regular education teacher who serves as a member of a student’s ARD committee must, to the extent practicable, be a regular education teacher who is responsible for implementing a portion of the student’s IEP. However, if issues considered at an ARD meeting do not require a specific teacher’s participation, the parents and the district can agree in writing that the teacher need not attend. If a specific teacher’s participation is required, the parents and the district can agree to have that teacher provide information in writing, in lieu of attending.

State rules provide that all ARD committee members must have the opportunity to participate in a collaborative manner in developing the IEP. A committee decision concerning required elements of the IEP must be made by mutual agreement of the required members if possible. When mutual agreement is not reached, a written statement of the basis for the disagreement must be included in the IEP. TCTA-initiated legislation requires that each member who disagrees must be offered the opportunity to write a statement.

TCTA members who have questions or problems regarding inclusion issues may call the TCTA Legal Department at 888-879-8282.

Resources for teachers of students with special health needs

TEA is required to establish and maintain a website that provides resources for teachers of students with special health needs. It must include information on the treatment and management of chronic illnesses and how such illnesses impact a student’s well-being or ability to succeed in school. It also must provide information on food allergies that are common among students, including how to prevent exposure to a specific food when necessary to protect a student’s health and how to treat a student suffering from an allergic reaction to a food.

See also:

Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Restraint of Students With Disabilities

Special Health Needs of Students

Special Education