School Safety Law Toolkit

House Bill 3489

Effective date: September 1, 2021; TEA to develop and distribute the guidelines so they can be used beginning with the 2023-2024 school year

Requires the TEA, in consultation with the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), to develop and distribute model health and safety guidelines for the use of digital devices. These guidelines may be used by public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to determine best practices for the integration of digital devices in schools, beginning with the 2023-2024 school year. These guidelines must be evidence-based, consider the needs of students with intellectual or physical disabilities, consider the costs associated with implementation, and affordable ways to reduce the hazards relate to digital device extended use.

The guidelines must address the:

  • Digital device use for varying age and developmental levels.
  • Amount of time a student spends using the devices in the classroom.
  • Appropriate frequency for breaks from the devices.
  • Physical positioning of the devices in the classroom.
  • Use of the devices to complete homework.
  • Recommended total daily screen time usage for students.
  • Recommended practices or software to block inappropriate content.
  • Recommended teacher training regarding device use to ensure best practice implementation.

The school board or governing body must adopt a policy for effective digital device integration and may decide to adopt the guidelines developed by the TEA. If a district or charter open-enrollment charter school adopts the guidelines developed by the TEA, they are permitted to implement them in way that best meets the needs of their district or school, or the individual needs of students in their district or school. If the district or charter school adopts the TEA guidelines, they must be posted publicly on the district or charter school's website.