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TPERN Demands Lake Dallas ISD Stop Threatening Parents

We recently received the below letter from Lake Dallas Middle School telling parents that due to scores on district and state practice assessments, their kids had been deemed in danger of not passing STAAR (Oh the horror!) and were required to attend after school tutorials under threat of detention, ISS or possibly other punitive measures.  Just one problem, the compulsory attendance law provides specific instances where attendance may be required outside the regular school day, and school tutorials based on practice assessments is not one of them.

If you are ever subjected to such a threat, we encourage you to immediately send an opt out letter under Section 26.010.  Further, please forward us a copy of the threat letter.  Reprinted below is our response to Lake Dallas Middle School.

Dear Principal Johnson,

I am in receipt of a copy of a February 28, 2024 letter from “Lake Dallas Middle School Administration” purporting to assign certain students to “STAAR Mandatory Tutorials” after school.  The basis for this punitive action is “the most recent scores” students received on “district and practice state assessments.”  Parents are further informed that students “must attend each week” and that “[f]ailure to attend will result in disciplinary consequences such as lunch detention and In School Suspension.”

This letter is ultra vires and of no force whatsoever.  The Texas Education Code enumerates the instances in which compulsory attendance can be required outside of the regular school day.  Though a limited exception (with parental opt out) exists for Accelerated Instruction based on actual state assessment results, no such provision exists to mandate attendance outside of school hours based on “district and practice state assessments.”

The Texas Parents’ Educational Rights Network demands that Lake Dallas Middle School administration immediately clarify to parents that attendance is not mandatory and that no punitive measures will be taken if they choose not to participate.  Moreover, if any punitive consequences have already been assigned, they must be immediately rescinded.  Moreover, we request your confirmation that the individuals responsible for the drafting and circulation of this erroneous threat letter will receive remediation and training on the law related to compulsory attendance and accelerated instruction.

You are reminded that the duly adopted and enforceable ethical standards for Texas Educators include:

  • Standard 1.1. The educator shall not intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly engage in deceptive practices regarding official policies of the school district, educational institution, educator preparation program, the Texas Education Agency, or the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and its certification process.
  • Standard 1.7. The educator shall comply with state regulations, written local school board policies, and other state and federal laws.
  • Standard 3.3. The educator shall not intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly misrepresent facts regarding a student.

The preparation and circulation of this letter arguably violates some or all of these three standards.  We encourage Lake Dallas Middle School to act promptly to remedy these violations and insure that no student or parent is coerced into participation in after school tutorials based on false threats related to mandatory attendance or punitive consequences.

Please confirm that corrective action has been taken.


UPDATE – 3/25/24

TPERN has received a response from LDISD confirming that it was not appropriate to threaten disciplinary action for not attending tutorials.  The district pledged to notify parents of this decision and to counsel the administrators that no discipline is to be imposed if students choose not to attend after school tutorials.  We applaud LDISD for following the law and taking prompt action to correct the campus level errors that threatened student and parental rights.


March 13, 2024


March 25, 2024


  • A 26.010 opt out letter could be a simple as this:

    Although I am well aware that you cannot compel attendance at after school tutorials based on practice STAAR scores, benchmarks or other preparatory assessments, to the extent the district believes it can act in that manner, this letter will serve as notice that I am removing my child ____________ from all STAAR tutorials based on my moral/religious objection to the State of Texas accountability and assessment system. The overreach such as shown by the district here is a prime example of how objectionable the system is and how it continues to try to supplant parents and family with paternalistic oversight. We remove our child from such instruction based on Tex. Ed. Code sec. 26.010. Please confirm that you have received this notice and removed my child from any such participation.

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