HB 11

85(R) - 2017
House Public Education
House Public Education
Health & Human Services

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Negative
  • Negative
  • Neutral


Four Price

Bill Caption

Relating to consideration of the mental health of public school students in school planning, educator training requirements, curriculum requirements, educational programs, state and regional programs and services, and health care services for students.

Fiscal Notes

From the LBB: Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for HB 11, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: a negative impact of ($528,100) through the biennium ending August 31, 2019.

The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.

Bill Analysis

This bill would introduce new requirements having to do with promoting the mental and emotional heath of students, and would require teachers in public schools to have training in teaching and intervening with students who have a mental or behavioral health disorder, as well as allow that continuing education requirements may include instruction on evidence-based, grief-informed, trauma-informed strategies on how to support students affected by grief and trauma.

The bill would also require each school district to offer curriculum that includes learning about mental health and substance abuse disorders, and would allow a school to employ a non-physician mental health professional. The board of trustees for a school district would be required make a good faith effort to appoint at least one psychiatrist or non-physician mental health professional and post on the board’s website the policies they have adopted to promote the physical and mental health of students and list the physical and mental health resources available at each school.

The Texas Education Agency would be required to make available one or more coordinated health plan that provide for coordinating physical health, mental health education, and substance abuse education.

Lastly, the TEA would be required to coordinate with HHSC to develop guidelines for school districts regarding partnering with local mental health authorities to increase student access to those resources and obtaining school-based mental health services through Medicaid. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

This bill is in violation of our limited government and personal responsibility principles. It is not the role of the government in the form of a public school to identify children with mental health disorders or provide them with access to mental health professionals, it is the job of their parents.

This bill, regardless of its good intentions, places ever more responsibility on teachers and other public school employees to know and do things beyond teaching core curriculum. Every time the state adds new mandates on what teachers must be trained on and what things they must teach, their ability to focus on their job of educating students in basic and fundamental subjects is diminished. Ultimately mental health screening and education is a matter between families and their doctors, not the public school system. Expanding the role of public schools in this way is inconsistent with limited government.

For these reasons we oppose HB 11.

The Wall Street Journal currently has an article out titled "Have You Seen Junior's Psych Eval?" which outlines some of the problems with the growing trend toward psychological screening of school children. It is worth a read for further background on our concerns.