Texas Legislature allows parents to opt for students to repeat grade levels or courses

student writing on paper
Parents interested in electing for their child to repeat a grade level or course must notify their school in writing before the first day of class. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Parents interested in electing for their child to repeat a grade level or course must notify their school in writing before the first day of class. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

In response to learning disruptions caused by the pandemic, the Texas Legislature passed SB 1697, which allows parents or guardians to opt for their children to repeat prekindergarten or kindergarten. For students who were in grades one through three during the 2020-21 school year, parents can also choose for their children to repeat those grades.

Additionally, the law allows parents to enroll their children in pre-K or kindergarten if they were eligible in the 2020-21 school year and have not yet enrolled in the next grade.

The bill also allows guardians to opt for their children to repeat fourth to eighth grades if they were enrolled in those grades during the 2020-21 school year. Parents of high school students may choose for them to repeat any course taken during 2020-21.

For fourth grade and up, this option only exists for the 2021-22 school year. For pre-K through third grade, the option is permanent.

If a student has enough credits to graduate, parents may not elect for their child to retake a course.


The Texas Education Code dictates what districts must do to promote a student from one grade to the next. Previously, each district had authority to set its own policy regarding parental input because law and rule were silent on the matter, according to the Texas Education Agency.

Guardians interested in their child repeating a grade or a high school course must notify their school in writing before the first day of class. Unless a district has different submission requirements, parents can use this form provided by the TEA.

In the event a district's or charter school’s staff disagrees with the parent’s decision, the school will create a retention committee to review the student’s previous grades, assessment results and any other measures of academic performance.

The retention committee must consist of the principal or a principal designee, the student’s parent or guardian, the teacher of the specified course or grade level, and any other teachers if the student will repeat multiple classes.

After the meeting, the final decision is still the parent’s, per the TEA website.

The TEA website encourages parents to review University Interscholastic League eligibility rules if their children are interested in playing sports. Students who are held back are ineligible to participate in UIL activities—which include academic and music competitions—for the first six weeks of the next school year.

There are also age restrictions for seventh- and eighth-grade athletic teams. Students may only compete in four consecutive calendar years at the varsity level, and they cannot turn 19 before Sept. 1 of the current school year.

For more information about SB 1697, visit the TEA website.
By Brooklynn Cooper
Brooklynn Cooper covers public education in Frisco and McKinney. Previously, she reported on southern Dallas for The Dallas Morning News. The Durham, N.C. native and devoted Tar Heel fan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019.


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