Right of Student to Enroll in School Today

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In cases where school staff is not aware of the student’s right to enroll and/or other obligations the school has to ensure the student makes a smooth transition back to school, print and share this handout with school staff. To print, click the Print This Page button at the bottom of the handout.

This student has the right to enroll in school today. Please review the guidance below explaining this student’s right to enroll at your campus and other obligations the school has to ensure the student makes a smooth transition back to school.


Missing Records

  • Proof of Identity: Under TEC §25.002(a-1), you must enroll a student in school and the parent or guardian then has 30 days to provide you with documentation to prove the child’s identity. For more information, visit the Texas School Board Admissions Policy – Excerpt handout.
  • School Records: Under TEC §25.002(a-1), you must enroll the student in school and should then request the student’s school records from the school district they previously attended (Excel Academy) through the Texas Records Exchange (TREx) System. The previous school district has 10 working days from receipt of the records request to provide you with the student’s records. Under 19 TAC §74.26(a)(1), a student cannot be kept out of school while you are waiting for their school records. For more information, visit the Texas School Board Admissions Policy – Excerpt handout.
  • Proof of Residency: Parents and guardians are only required to provide one document to prove residency. If the parent or guardian provides any of the documents listed in the school district’s board policy that satisfies the proof of residency requirement, you cannot then require the parent or guardian to produce another or different document to prove residency. If the parent or guardian notifies you that they are not able to provide a document in their name because they are staying with a relative or friend, then they are McKinney Vento eligible (homeless) and therefore entitled to immediate enrollment without any of the documents required for enrollment. TEC §25.001(b)(5).
  • Social Security Card: Social security numbers are used for purposes of the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) and are not required for enrollment. If a parent or guardian is not able to provide the student’s social security number, you must assign a state-approved alternative student identification number to the student and proceed with enrollment.
  • Immigration Status: A joint letter issued by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education advises public schools to refrain from inquiring into students’ citizenship or immigration status, or that of their parents or guardians, since a student’s immigration status is not a permissible basis for denying admission to a public school.

Student’s Age – High School: Under TEC §25.001(a), a Texas public school student must be under the age of 21 on September 1 of the current school year and not have a high school diploma in order to enroll in school. If the student meets these conditions, you must enroll them even if they are “over-aged” for the grade level they are enrolling in.

Student’s Age – Middle School: There is no law or policy that prevents a child who is “over-aged” from enrolling in middle school. If the student has not been promoted to the 9th grade, they are ineligible to enroll in high school and must therefore be enrolled in middle school in order to then be promoted to high school, or receive the instruction needed to demonstrate mastery of middle school level curriculum.

Disciplinary Alternative Education Program Enrollment: Students who may be sent to a DAEP upon return to a school district must still be enrolled at their home campus while the district arranges for enrollment in the DAEP.

Probation Status: A student’s probation status is confidential and a student is not required to disclose their probation status or the nature of their alleged offense for the purpose of enrolling in school. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (TCCP) §15.27(a), a school district’s superintendent will be notified of certain offenses and will then share that information with the student’s principal. If the principal has not been informed about the student’s alleged offense by the district’s Superintendent or their designee, then the principal and other school staff are not entitled to that information.

Student Obtained GED: Under TEC § 29.087(h), a student who has obtained their GED is still entitled to attend school in order to earn their high school diploma and is entitled to the benefits of the Foundation School Program in the same manner as any other student who has not received a high school diploma.

Personalized Transition Plans

Under TEC §37.023, schools are required to hold a transition meeting within five days of a student’s release from a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP), Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP), or juvenile justice facility to develop a personalized transition plan.

Who may participate in the meeting?

  • Administrator
  • School Counselor
  • School Social Worker
  • School Resource Officer
  • School Behavioral Coordinator
  • Classroom Teachers
  • Parent
  • Student
  • Other relevant staff and services providers

What are some things the committee can recommend at the transition meeting?

  • Best educational placement for the student
  • Make recommendations for counseling, behavioral interventions and supports, academic assistance, and mental health services
  • Advise parent or guardian on the special education evaluation process, if appropriate
  • Regularly review student’s progress toward academic and career goals

Houston ISD’s Transition Meeting Template (PDF, 129 KB) can be used during the transition meeting to guide the discussion and document the student’s plan.


Publication Code: ED33

This handout is part of the Texas School Reentry Toolkit.


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Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.

The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.

To request this handout in ASL, Braille, or as an audio file, contact us.

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