General Inquiry

The Office of General Inquiry provides general information and resources on matters related to the rights and responsibilities of parents under Chapter 26 of the Texas Education Code (TEC).

Special Education

Parents of students with disabilities have additional rights and procedural safeguards under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). For more information, please contact the Division of IDEA Coordination at (512) 463-9414.

How are complaints about schools handled?

This Office encourages the resolution of complaints at the school level, including first informing appropriate school administrators of the concerns.

Under the rights of parents described in Parent Complaints (TEC Section 26.011), school districts provide a process for parents or members of the public to present a complaint. Typically, complaints about district policies and procedures are first addressed by campus administrators, then next by the district’s central office administrators, and then finally by the board of trustees.

Information about the code of ethics of certified educators and filing an ethics complaint can be found on the State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) website.

Special Education complaints related to special education rights are not required to exhaust the local complaint process and may be filed directly with the TEA. Please refer to the Division of IDEA Coordination's complaint process.

Local School District Policies and Procedures

This Office frequently receives questions concerning general education matters that are under the jurisdiction and authority of the local school district. We hope the following information assists you in understanding the requirements of public schools. Public charter schools may have different rules and requirements than school districts. For guidance related to charter schools, please contact the Charter Schools Division at (512) 463-9575.

Legal Resources for Frequent Topics

This Office encourages individuals to review the local school district policies and procedures. In addition to state laws, the board of trustees adopts local policies to govern and manage their district. Local policies may differ from one school district to another; as a result, it is important to have reviewed the appropriate local policies when making inquiries about rights and responsibilities of parents or districts. Local policies and procedures may be requested from the school administrator or Office of the Superintendent.

Texas School Laws and Rules

Texas Education Code
Texas Administrative Code

Complaint Matters Under TEA Authority

This Agency provides guidance and direction for the local districts and public charter schools, and to act as a link to many federal and state services. Not all complaints fall under the authority of the Agency. Many concerns are the responsibilities of the local districts and public charter schools. Some examples of matters handled by the local districts and public charter schools include hiring and evaluation of staff, classroom assignments, student retention and grading, selection/provision of textbooks and materials, student discipline, facilities, homework practices, use of general education funds, and dress codes.

In cases of a complaint against a school, the Agency is usually the point of last resort. Before bringing any question regarding school policy or a specific decision affecting a student to the attention of the Agency, the issue should be presented to the responsible parties in this order:

  1. Teachers
  2. School or Campus Principal
  3. Superintendent of Schools
  4. Local Board of Trustees
  5. The Texas Education Agency

TEA has jurisdiction to investigate allegations of non-compliance regarding specific laws and rules, generally related to federal requirements, court orders, and certified educators.

If you have followed the local complaint policy and procedures in presenting your concerns and still feel that the school has violated a right of yours, you may wish to discuss your concerns with a staff member of the Office of General Inquiries Tel (512) 463-9290 | Fax (512) 463-9838 | E-mail: generalinquiry@tea.state.tx.us. A staff member is available to answer calls during normal business hours. Spanish speakers are available (se habla español).

A formal complaint to TEA must allege non-compliance with either federal or state laws or rules that are under the jurisdiction of TEA. The complaint must be in writing and signed and include the facts or documentation on which the allegation is based.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitative Act of 1973

For Section 504 Resources, individuals are referred to the district’s Section 504 Coordinator. Discrimination complaints are under the jurisdiction and authority of Office for Civil Rights (OCR). OCR enforces several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance from the Department of Education.

For assistance related to civil rights, you may visit the OCR Contact headquarters office in Washington D.C. or the OCR enforcement office serving your state or territory. For further information, please contact the Office for Civil Rights Dallas Regional Office Tel (214) 661-9600 l Toll Free (800) 421-3481 | Fax (214) 661-9587 l Email OCR.Dallas@ed.gov

TEA Authority to Monitor and Intervene with Public School

TEA’s authority to monitor and intervene with school districts is overseen by the Division of Program Monitoring and Interventions.

Frequently Asked Questions

This link contains frequently asked questions that our office receives. Each link will have questions and answers pertaining to the topic area. Our office can answer general questions and provide information about state law, but we cannot give legal advice to either side of a dispute.

 


General Inquiries Unit
1701 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701-1494
Telephone: (512) 463-9290
Fax: (512) 463-9838

Page last modified on 8/24/2012 04:42:08 PM.