New school laws go into effect on first day of school

A rundown of what's new, a recap of went into effect earlier this year

SAN ANTONIO – School is back in session and administrators and students across the state will have to follow some new rules.

In effect this year is the installing of cameras in special education classrooms. This law only applies if the camera is requested.

The Association of Texas Professional Educators has voiced its opinion on this law and tells us a teacher, administrator or parent can make the request for the camera. If it is requested the school district would have to install and are required to keep the video for at least six months.

The problem for many school districts with this law is that it is not funded by the state.

"It is a very expensive bill," ATPE Lobbyist Monty Exter said.  "In fact the primary issue we had behind the scenes with this bill was that there were other ways to address this issue which we feel like would probably be more effective for either the same or less dollars."

Two other laws went into effect earlier this year. The first SB 269 was made to make sure students are at school at least 90 percent of the school year.

If a student has too many unexcused absences, their driver's license would be taken away for 30 days on the first offense and 60 days on the second.

Chronically Absent K-12 Students Across Texas | StartClass

Another law, House Bill 2620, changes how school days are calculated. Instead of having 180 days of school, a school year is now calculated by minutes. This is all to make it easier to make up bad-weather days.

"What this bill did in covering from hours to minutes it allows school districts to bank time so they can essentially pre-makeup those days," Exter said.

Finally, a guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Education and Justice on transgender policies is on hold in Texas because of a lawsuit. School districts in San Antonio say while there is an injunction on the policy they will be handling the issue on a case-by-case basis.

Status of Transgender "Bathroom Bill" Legislation | InsideGov

About the Author:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast South Texas Crime Stories.