CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A new law will change the way students are punished for bad behavior in the classroom.
This new law gives teachers the discretion on whether or not they are being harassed and students who do harass teachers will end up in alternative schools for disciplinary action.
But there is concern favoritism might play a role in how this law is applied.
Teachers' advocates say the new law is essentially an extension of the Safe Schools Act.
But teachers still need additional protection from disruptive students.
“We need more of the enforcement of the law that's already in place and the new law that just passed,” said Nancy Vera, the president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Teachers.
Vera says that tension and disruption in classrooms are growing.
“There are some students who are quite violent and actually harass teachers in the sense that they spit in their faces, or hit them or threaten them,” she said.
Under the new law, students who are identified as harassers of teachers will be moved to Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs, often referred to as DAEP’s.
Vera says local school districts are working to provide more emotional support for children who need more attention.
This is in hopes that fewer students end up attending alternative schools.
“If they are being neglected for whatever reason in their homes, maybe their parents don't know,” Vera said. “We're also looking at helping them figure that out. and trying to offer parents an alternative.”
Those teachers' advocates fear that without additional mental healthcare in schools and available emotional resources, the number of students being sent to alternative schools will rise.
And subsequently, so will the dropout rate.
This law will go into effect on Sept. 1.
We contacted the CCISD for comment, but we haven’t heard back from them yet.