School Policies

& Student Rights

COVID-19 changed our public education landscape overnight. Thousands of Texas schools and nearly 5.5 million students had to adapt to new policies and health guidelines. As schools grapple with COVID’s impact, CHILDREN AT RISK investigated how key policies changed, what rights parents may need to protect, and what policy changes schools might consider under our “new normal.”

We are grateful for the indispensable funding provided by the Texas Bar Foundation in support of this research. 

About the Project

With nearly 5.5 million students, the Texas public school system is responsible for over ten percent of the 50 million public school students in the U.S.

Amidst major disruptions to Texas public education resulting from COVID-19, Children at Risk (C@R) has undertaken a comprehensive research project to assess how schools have responded to the pandemic, identify issues and challenges that administrators, teachers, and students will face, and provide information and recommendations to parents and school districts as schools resume instruction this fall.

Our research presents key opportunities, successes, and challenges on topics including gender and racial inequities, mental health, school discipline, and learning loss. Districts covered by our research include Dallas ISD, Houston ISD, and San Antonio ISD, as well as a number of rural districts and border districts. We have studied relevant statutes and case law, conducted interviews of attorneys, principals, and other experts, and scoured the internet for relevant studies, ISD policies, and other data.

School Policies & Student Rights

School Discipline

The pandemic increased confusion and opportunities for injustice.

Attendance & Learning Loss

The pandemic changed how students attend, learn, and engage in school.

Mental Health

The pandemic increased stress and isolation for all students. 

Special Education

The pandemic added challeges for students with learning differences.

COVID-19 + Education Equity

On Wednesday, September 29, CHILDREN AT RISK and the Texas Racial Equity Collaborative hosted a roundtable conversation on school policies surrounding masking, vaccinations, and pandemic learning. School and medical experts discussed racial disparities caused or made worse by COVID-19 and what parents should expect as children return to the classroom in person.

Share Your Experience 

Tell us how COVID-19 affected your child’s education, your classroom, or policies in your district. What challenges did you or your student(s) face? What supports do you think students need moving forward?

“I’m extremely proud of the empathy shown by campus leaders for our teachers and students.”



Superintendent, Houston ISD

“During the pandemic one of the things that we really focused on was that health and wellness piece in addiotn to our academics.”


Principal, Fort Worth Young Women's Leadership Academy

“With the rise in evictions and unemployment, as well as limited broadband among families working from home, COVID has only exacerbated the problem of absenteeism.”


Researcher, Children at Risk


Choose which option best describes you.
Tell us how COVID-19 affected your child's education, your classroom, or policies in your district. What challenges did you or your students face? What supports or policy changes would help your student in the recovery?

Disclaimer:  Any information contained in this report is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice. Your use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship, and you should not act or refrain from acting based on any information on this site without first consulting an attorney. C@R disclaims all liability arising from any action or inaction taken pursuant to use of the site.  To the extent any information on this site addresses statutes or laws that did not pass, C@R does not advocate for passage of those statutes or laws, or any other changes to Texas law, in connection with this site.