Friday, June 4, 2010

Texas Prosecutes Students as Young as 6

The police in Texas are writing criminal citations to students, some as young as 6-years-old, for disruptive behavior in schools. The Texas Tribune reported that 160 school districts in Texas have their own police departments.

According to the Tribune, Dallas Independent School District’s police department,issued criminal citations to 92 10-year-olds in the 2006-07 school year, the latest year for which such data is available. Alief (Houston)School's police officers issued 163 tickets to elementary school students in 2007. Several districts ticketed a 6-year-old at least once in the last five years, according to a recent presentation to the state Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee by Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit research and advocacy group focusing on social and economic justice.

Last school year, police in Houston, with an enrollment of about 200,000, wrote 5,763 tickets to students, its department reported to the Tribune. The number of tickets in Houston has ranged between 4,000 and 6,000 since 2005, according to district data. Dallas, with about 150,000 students, the police wrote nearly about 4,400 tickets in 2006-07.

My Take

Apparently, school officials in Texas have capitulated their discipline authority to law enforcement. A shoving match in the hallway of a Texas School is a criminal offense. The class clown who gets disruptive in class may end up in front of a judge instead of the principal.

The way things are going in Texas, chewing gum in school may result in wholesale extractions. Is it possible that a 6-year-old could get so incorrigible that the police need to intervene or is the teacher pushing his or her responsibility on to some other entity. What ever the reason it can't be healthy for students in Texas to wonder if their conduct will land them in court rather than detention.

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