The Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), in coordination with TEA and regional education service centers (ESCs), shall provide and annually update a list of recommended best practice-based programs and research-based practices in the areas specified below for implementation in public elementary, junior high, middle, and high schools within the general education setting. Each school district may select from the list a program or programs appropriate for implementation in the district.
The list must include programs and practices in the following areas:
- Early mental health intervention;
- Mental health promotion;
- Building skills related to managing emotions, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and responsible decision-making;
- Substance abuse prevention and intervention;
- Suicide prevention;
- Grief-informed and trauma-informed practices;
- Positive behavior interventions and supports and positive youth development; and
- Safe, supportive, and positive school climate.
"School climate" means the quality and character of school life, including interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures, as experienced by students enrolled in the district, parents of those students, and personnel employed by the district.
TDSHS, TEA, and each ESC shall make the list easily accessible on their websites.
Practices and Procedures
A district may develop practices and procedures concerning each area listed above, including mental health promotion and intervention, substance abuse prevention and intervention, and suicide prevention, that:
- Include a procedure for providing notice of a recommendation for early mental health or substance abuse intervention regarding a student to a parent or guardian of the student within a reasonable amount of time after the identification of early warning signs, which may include declining academic performance, depression, anxiety, isolation, unexplained changes in sleep or eating habits, and destructive behavior toward self and others;
- Include a procedure for providing notice of a student identified as at risk of committing suicide to a parent or guardian of the student within a reasonable amount of time after the identification of early warning signs;
- Establish that the district may develop a reporting mechanism and may designate at least one person to act as a liaison officer in the district for the purposes of identifying students in need of early mental health or substance abuse intervention or suicide prevention; and
- Set out available counseling alternatives for a parent or guardian to consider when his or her child is identified as possibly being in need of early mental health or substance abuse intervention or suicide prevention.
The practices and procedures must prohibit the use without the prior consent of a student's parent or guardian of a medical screening of the student as part of the process of identifying whether the student is possibly in need of early mental health or substance abuse intervention or suicide prevention.
The practices and procedures developed must be included in the annual student handbook and the district improvement plan under Education Code 11.252. [See BQ]
Nothing in these provisions is intended to interfere with the rights of parents or guardians and the decision-making regarding the best interest of the child. Practices and procedures developed in accordance with these provisions are intended to notify a parent or guardian of a need for mental health or substance abuse intervention so that a parent or guardian may take appropriate action. These provisions do not give school districts the authority to prescribe medications. Any and all medical decisions are to be made by a parent or guardian of a student.
Health and Safety Code 161.325
These requirements do not waive any immunity from liability of a district or of district officers or employees, create any liability for a cause of action against a district or against district officers or employees, or waive any immunity from liability under Civil Practice and Remedies Code 74.151. Health and Safety Code 161.326