The Texas Tribune is reporting on a change in the way Texas school districts will be allowed to handle certain undesireable behavior at your public schools. How, if at all, will this substantial change in our state laws affect the policing of our local school districts?
From The Texas Tribune
Public school students in Texas who have chewed gum in class, talked back to teachers or disrupted class have often received citations from school police officers. Beginning in September, students who engage in such levels of misbehavior will face discipline in a different manner.
While school administrators and teachers have traditionally handled student discipline, some school districts in Texas over the years have allowed school police officers to deal with certain types of misbehavior by charging students with Class C misdemeanors, a practice commonly referred to as student ticketing. Students charged must appear before a county or municipal judge and can face fines of up to $500 if found guilty by a judge.
Students who do not pay their fines could be arrested as soon as they turn 17 years old. Even if students pay the fines, the offenses could still appear on their criminal records.
The Legislature took steps this year toward decriminalizing such misbehavior at school with Senate Bill 393 by Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas. The measure prevents school police officers from issuing citations for misbehavior at school, excluding traffic violations. Officers can still submit complaints about students, but it will be up to a local prosecutor whether to charge the student with a Class C misdemeanor.