New state law gives parents, guardians more authority to hold kids back, repeat classes during pandemic

Parents must notify their child’s school district in writing before the year starts.
Parents and guardians have more authority to decide on if their child should be held back.
Parents and guardians have more authority to decide on if their child should be held back.
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 4:59 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - With the school year fast approaching, you might not know about a new state law that gives parents and guardians more authority on if your child should be held back.

Many parents are just hearing about Senate Bill 1697 which took effect this summer.

For pre-kindergarten to 8th grade it means you can ask your child to repeat the grade they were in. For high school-age kids, you can request they repeat a course if you think they need improvement.

Roxanne Galvan has four kids in Bryan ISD and is glad to hear about new options for parents and guardians about their child’s education.

With the squeals of laughter coming from the local splashpad, Galvan’s children aren’t quite ready for school to start in a few weeks.

“They did go to summer school, but they needed help with one class but they still passed them,” said Galvan.

The Texas Education Agency says if you want this option on holding back or having children repeat a course, you have to notify your school district or charter school in writing before the new year starts.

“Essentially this is another tool in the toolbelt in terms of combating the COVID slide and the education effects of COVID-19. And who better than to assess where kids are than their own parents?,” said Jake Kobersky, a Texas Education Agency spokesperson.

He said they don’t have any data on how many parents might make this choice for their child.

“This is something that parents have never really been empowered to do before so essentially we’re just trying to make this option... Make parents aware,” Kobersky said.

“Ultimately if a parent is not comfortable, if their child is not comfortable, if they want to make this decision for their child, a parent or guardian ultimately has the final say to make this decision,” said Kobersky.

“It’s going to help us out and help the kids out in the long run,” said Galvan.

The new rule applies to all Texas public and charter schools for this coming school year.

Starting in the 2022 school year it will only apply for kids in grades pre-k through 3rd grade.

We have details from the TEA here.

We have an FAQ on the law here.

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