State law encourages or requires districts to implement identification and referral processes to link students and families with needed resources.
Mental Health in Schools
This page addresses early identification and referral to link students with mental and behavioral health needs.
Texas Statutes Education Code 37.144 Graduated Sanctions for Certain School Offenses
(a) A school district that commissions peace officers under Section 37.081 may develop a system of graduated sanctions that the school district may require to be imposed on a child before a complaint is filed under Section 37.145 against the child for a school offense that is an offense under Section 37.124 or 37.126 or under Section 42.01(a)(1), (2), (3), (4), or (5), Penal Code. A system adopted under this section must include multiple graduated sanctions. The system may require:
(1) a warning letter to be issued to the child and the child’s parent or guardian that specifically states the child’s alleged school offense and explains the consequences if the child engages in additional misconduct;
(2) a behavior contract with the child that must be signed by the child, the child’s parent or guardian, and an employee of the school and that includes a specific description of the behavior that is required or prohibited for the child and the penalties for additional alleged school offenses, including additional disciplinary action or the filing of a complaint in a criminal court;
(3) the performance of school-based community service by the child; and
(4) the referral of the child to counseling, community-based services, or other in-school or out-of-school services aimed at addressing the child’s behavioral problems.
Texas Statutes Education Code 38.057 Identification of Health-Related Concerns
(a) The staff of a school-based health center and the person whose consent is obtained under Section 38.053 shall jointly identify any health-related concerns of a student that may be interfering with the student’s well-being or ability to succeed in school.
(b) If it is determined that a student is in need of a referral for mental health services, the staff of the center shall notify the person whose consent is required under Section 38.053 verbally and in writing of the basis for the referral. The referral may not be provided unless the person provides written consent for the type of service to be provided and provides specific written consent for each treatment occasion.
Texas Statutes Education Code 38.351. Mental Health Promotion and Intervention, Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention, and Suicide Prevention.
(e) The suicide prevention programs on the list provided under Subsection (a) must include components that provide for training school counselors, teachers, nurses, administrators, and other staff, as well as law enforcement officers and social workers who regularly interact with students, to: (1) recognize students at risk of attempting suicide, including students who are or may be the victims of or who engage in bullying; (2) recognize students displaying early warning signs and a possible need for early mental health or substance abuse intervention, which warning signs may include declining academic performance, depression, anxiety, isolation, unexplained changes in sleep or eating habits, and destructive behavior toward self and others; (3) intervene effectively with students described by Subdivision (1) or (2) by providing notice and referral to a parent or guardian so appropriate action, such as seeking mental health or substance abuse services, may be taken by a parent or guardian; and (4) assist students in returning to school following treatment of a mental health concern or suicide attempt.