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Texas School Reentry Toolkit

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Introduction

Youth exiting a juvenile justice facility, Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP), or Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP) often have difficulty reentering their local public school. Disability Rights Texas has developed the Texas School Reentry Toolkit to help parents, guardians, and advocates assist students with gaining reentry to school following release from these placements. The information and resources included in this toolkit were designed to address school reentry in the Houston area, but anyone in Texas can follow similar steps to help a student gain reentry into a school in their area.

Where and How Do I Start?

You can typically enroll your child by going to your zoned school to complete registration paperwork. During the pandemic, schools may use an online enrollment process so check your school district’s website or call your zoned school to find out how to enroll your child.

What Documents Will You Need for Enrollment?

  • Birth certificate or other proof of your child’s identity
  • Report card and/or transcript from the last school your child attended
  • Current immunization record
  • Proof of residency – could be a lease, utility bill with address and parent or guardian’s name, recently paid rent receipt, or most recent tax receipt showing home ownership

But what if you don’t have one of the documents listed above? Visit Required Documents for School Enrollment in Texas to learn more about these documents, including what you – and the school – can do if you don’t have one of them.

Also, there may be situations where school staff is not aware of the student’s right to enroll and/or other obligations the school has to ensure the student makes a smooth transition back to school. In these cases, you can share the Right of Student to Enroll in School Today handout with school staff.

What to Do if You Are Denied Enrollment

  1. Contact the school principal to let them know you believe your child is being improperly denied enrollment in school.
    *Note: If you are living at a friend or relative’s house, you are considered homeless under the McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act and should contact your school district’s homeless liaison. The registrar at your child’s school should be able to connect you with the homeless liaison.
  2. If the principal does not resolve the problem immediately, contact an Assistant Superintendent, or in Houston ISD, the Parent and Community Assistance Office by calling 713-556-7121 or emailing parentassistance@houstonisd.org.
  3. If contacting an Assistant Superintendent, or in Houston ISD, the Parent and Community Assistance Office, does not solve the problem, file a district level grievance. For more information about filing a grievance, visit How to File a School District Level Grievance.

What Does the School Have to Do to Help My Child Transition Back to School Once They Are Enrolled?

Schools are now required to hold a transition meeting within five days of a student’s release from a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP), Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP), or juvenile justice facility to develop a personalized transition plan.

Who may participate in the meeting?

  • Administrator
  • School Counselor
  • School Social Worker
  • School Resource Officer
  • School Behavioral Coordinator
  • Classroom Teachers
  • Other relevant staff and services providers

As a parent, you can request that you and your child participate in this meeting. Ask your child’s administrator or school counselor to include you in the transition plan meeting.

What are some things the committee can recommend at the transition meeting?

  • Best educational placement for your child
  • Recommendations for counseling, behavioral interventions and supports, academic assistance, and mental health services, if needed
  • Provide you with information about the special education evaluation process
  • Regularly review your child’s progress toward academic and career goals

Houston ISD’s Transition Meeting Template (PDF, 129 KB) can be used during the transition meeting to guide the discussion and document the student’s plan.

Questions

Do you still have questions about school reentry after reviewing this toolkit? If you do, you can contact Sarah Beebe, Supervising Attorney for DRTx’s Juvenile Probation Education Advocacy Program, via email at sbeebe@disabilityrightstx.org.

 

Publication Code: ED31


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Online Intake available 24/7: intake.DRTx.org

Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.

The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.


To request this handout in ASL, Braille, or as an audio file, contact us.

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