What is Texas Law Regarding SHACs?
Every independent school district is required by law to have School Health Advisory Council.
The following text is from Title 2, Chapter 28, Section 28.004 of the Texas Education Code, the state statute that governs public schools in Texas. This section outlines the law regarding SHACs. For more information, the entire Texas Education Code can be obtained on line by going to www.capitol.state.tx.us/statues/ed.toc.htm.
CHAPTER 28.0004. LOCAL SCHOOL HEALTH ADVISORY COUNCIL AND HEALTH EDUCATION INSTRUCTION.
(a) The board of trustees of each school district shall establish a local school health advisory council to assist the district in ensuring that local community values are reflected in the district's health education instruction.
(b) A school district must consider the recommendations of the local school health advisory council before changing the district's health education curriculum or instruction.
(c) The local school health advisory council's duties include recommending:
(1) the number of hours of instruction to be provided in health education;(2) curriculum appropriate for specific grade levels designed to prevent obesity, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 diabetes through coordination of:
(A) health education;(B) physical education and physical activity;(C) nutrition services;(D) parental involvement; and(E) instruction to prevent the use of tobacco;
(3) appropriate grade levels and methods of instruction for human sexuality instruction; and(4) strategies for integrating the curriculum components specified by Subdivision (2) with the following elements in a coordinated school health program for the district:
(A) school health services;(B) counseling and guidance services;(C) a safe and healthy school environment; and(D) school employee wellness.
(d) The board of trustees shall appoint members to the local school health advisory council.
A majority of the members must be persons who are parents of students enrolled in the district and who are not employed by the district. The board of trustees also may appoint one or more persons from each of the following groups or a representative from a group other than a group specified under this subsection:
(1) public school teachers;(2) public school administrators;(3) district students;(4) health care professionals;(5) the business community;(6) law enforcement;(7) senior citizens:(8) the clergy; and(9) nonprofit health organizations.
(e) Any course materials and instruction relating to human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, or human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome shall be selected by the board of trustees with the advice of the local school health advisory council and must:
(1) present abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior in relationship all sexual activity for unmarried persons of school age;(2) devote more attention to abstinence from sexual activity than to any other behavior;(3) emphasize that abstinence from sexual activity, if used consistently and correctly, is the only method that is 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, infection with human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and the emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity;(4) direct adolescents to a standard of behavior in which abstinence from sexual activity before marriage is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and infection with human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome; and(5) teach contraception and condom use in terms of human use reality rates instead of theoretical laboratory rates, if instruction on contraception and condoms is included in curriculum content.
(f) A school district may not distribute condoms in connection with instruction relating to human sexuality.
(g) A school district that provides human sexuality instruction may separate students according to sex for instructional purposes.
(h) The board of trustees shall determine the specific content of the district's instruction in human sexuality, in accordance with Subsections (e), (f), and (g).
(i) A school district shall notify a parent of each student enrolled in the district of:
(1) the basic content of the district's human sexuality instruction to be provided to the student; and(2) the parent's right to remove the student from any part of the district's human sexuality instruction.
(j) A school district shall make all curriculum materials used in the district's human sexuality instruction available for reasonable public inspection.
(k) A school district shall publish in the student handbook and post on the district's Internet website, if the district has an Internet website:
(1) a statement of the policies adopted to ensure that elementary school, middle school, and junior high school students engage in at least 30 minutes per school day or 135 minutes per school week of physical activity; and(2) a statement of:
(A) the number of times during the preceding year the district's school health advisory council has met;(B) whether the district has adopted and enforces policies to ensure that district campuses comply with agency vending machine and food service guidelines for restricting student access to vending machines; and(C) whether the district has adopted and enforces policies and procedures that prescribe penalties for the use of tobacco products by students and others on school campuses or at school-sponsored or school-related activities.
Note: This represents only a small portion of the law regulating schools in Texas. Additional information on laws, regulations and policies related to schools can be accessed through the following sites and is addressed in detail in the Resources section of this guide on pages numbered 21-24.