FIRST in Texas takes the safety of our students, coaches, volunteers and staff seriously to help protect our young Texans participating in FIRST.
Some key things parents and coaches should do to help safeguard our kids is:
CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
Texas law requires anyone with knowledge of suspected child abuse or neglect to report it to the appropriate authorities. This mandatory reporting applies to all individuals and is not limited to teachers or health care professionals. The law even extends to individuals whose personal communications may be otherwise privileged, such as attorneys, clergy members, and health care professionals.
Section 261.101 of the Texas Family Code mandates that anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect must report it immediately. The report may be made to (1) any local or state law enforcement agency; or (2) the Department of Family and Protective Services.
All persons are required to make the report immediately, and individuals who are licensed or certified by the state or who work for an agency or facility licensed or certified by the state and have contact with children as a result of their normal duties, such as teachers, nurses, doctors, and day-care employees, must report the abuse or neglect within 48 hours.
Texas law broadly defines “abuse” and “neglect” so that every action in which a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected is potentially covered. The statute explicitly excludes an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent or guardian that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm. However, if there is a question whether conduct constitutes “abuse” or “neglect” always err on the side of the child’s safety and report the incident.
A person acting in good faith who reports or assists in the investigation of a report of child abuse or neglect is immune from civil or criminal liability. Failure to report suspected child abuse or neglect is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $4,000. Merely reporting the incident to your supervisor or manager is insufficient.
IMPROPER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EDUCATOR AND STUDENT.
(a) An employee of a public or private primary or secondary school commits an offense if the employee:
(A) enrolled in a public primary or secondary school in the same school district as the school at which the employee works; or
(B) a student participant in an educational activity that is sponsored by a school district or a public or private primary or secondary school, if:
(i) students enrolled in a public or private primary or secondary school are the primary participants in the activity; and
(ii) the employee provides education services to those participants; or
(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree.
It’s important to note that this law applies to any employee of a public or private secondary or primary school having a relationship with any student of that school or school district. The law also does not require that the student be enrolled in that specific teacher’s class. The law broadly applies to any employee and any student in the same school or district. The law also applies to an educator having an improper relationship with a student who is a participant in any activity sponsored by the educator’s school or school district.
FIRST in Texas / FIRST Core Values:
We express the FIRST philosophies of Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition through our Core Values:
FIRST in Texas / FIRST Code of Conduct:
Our mission is to inspire a generation of science and technology leaders who are both gracious and professional. This FIRST / FIRST in Texas Code of Conduct lists some of the basic behaviors all should adhere to while participating or leading FIRST activities in Texas.
Tips for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion:
FIRST in Texas believes that DE&I is core to its operation and its programs Here are some things you can do to self evaluate:
Celebrating a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment on a / for a FIRST in Texas team is something we should all strive for. If you need more information, please reach out and we will gladly help!Our DE&I Statement
You are not alone. All participants and volunteers are part of our FIRST in Texas family. If you are needing to talk, please take the time to reach out to a friend, loved one or your coach.
If it is something you are not comfortable talking about with them, you can call / text 988 from any phone in Texas to speak with a professional confidentially.
Together, we are FIRST in Texas… reach out and talk to someone!