Kicking the Class C Ticket Out of Classrooms

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Since the beginning of the year, two reports have documented how Texas's school districts punish their students: Texas Appleseed's Ticketing, Arrest & Use of Force in Schools How the Myth of the "Blackboard Jungle" Reshaped School Disciplinary Policy, released in January as part of its Texas' School-to-Prison Pipeline series, and the ACLU of Texas's Use of Force in Texas Public Schools: The Case for Transparency, Accountability and Decriminalization, published this month. The former notes that during the 2006-'07 school year, the Dallas Independent School District doled out 4,402 class C misdemeanor tickets to its students -- and that between 2001 and '07, 14 of them went to kids between the ages of 6 and 9. To which the ACLU's report adds: "In the 2006-2007 school year, Dallas schools issued criminal citations to 92 ten-year-olds."

Reps from Texas Appleseed and the ACLU were in Austin yesterday testifying before the Sen. John Carona-chaired Senate Criminal Justice Committee, where senators took up committee chairman John Whitmire's Senate Bill 1116, which seeks to curb the practicing of writing students tickets, especially during class. Said Whitmire, per the Texas Tribune's recap, "I think the presence of law enforcement in our schools has been a deterrent. But I also know in some jurisdictions the writing of class C misdemeanors is being used to generate revenue and justify the size of the police force."

In its 2010-11 budget, Dallas ISD is spending some $18 million on "security & monitoring services." At least one mayoral candidate's on the same page as Whitmire: In his education plan introduced this week, Mike Rawlings actually addresses on-campus policing within the DISD:
Improve communication between DISD and the City. As Mayor I will initiate regular meeting and exchanges -- opportunities to communicate and collaborate. One simple example is the DISD Police: is there a way that we can provide public safety for DISD through the Dallas Police Dept in a more cost efficient manner and free up those DISD funds to go back into our schools? These are the types of issues that we can work through if we are having regular conversations.

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12 comments
guest
guest

It would be nice if we knew what all the tickets are for. How would you feel if a 10 year old brought pot or a weapon to school? In today's society it happens. There may be 1 or 2 frivolous tickets. But from my experience 92 in a district of DISD's size doesn't sound outrageous considering the outrageous behavior I have seen. perhaps, they would be better served writing clear parameters on what can be ticketed. Things like assault, drugs, weapon use, bullying, etc. These are all criminal acts off school grounds.

Hannibal_Lecter
Hannibal_Lecter

Is there *any* issue that Rawlings doesn't want to address by throwing more taxpayer dollars at it?

Kruckemeyer609
Kruckemeyer609

IT would not be lawful to write kids yunger than 10 years old citations under current texas law. Either the officers in Dallas need to be trained or disciplined. or the ACLU does not have their facts straight.

TimCov
TimCov

I have to agree with Oak Cliff Townie. For years we have been limiting what schools can do to punish students. So, now they are left with the options of giving them tickets or expulsion.

What happens if the kid doesn't pay the ticket though? Do they send the kid to juvie? Do they arrest the parents and place the kid in foster care?

Personally, I would like to see them bring back detention (both after school and Saturdays). I know that I found the thought of detention more frightening than paddling or in-school suspension. With paddling, it was a brief period of discomfort and then it was over. With in-school suspension, I still did my school work and got time to read. But, detention outside of normal school hours interfered with MY time. It meant I could not do the things I enjoyed.

Alfredo
Alfredo

The DISD, along with Parkland, got a police force because Dallas was not responive to their needs. That's why Rawlings idea is bad.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Mandatory School attendance is a bad Idea .That needs to change.

Kids who chose to act out in a free to them Educational system need to be shown the door until they can show some Manners .

If you question the need for the citations( Which I have doubts about ) go spend some quality time in a classroom.

After a few days you might be willing to accommodate a healthy use of the tools of the Spanish inquisition to maintain order in the classroom !

Andy
Andy

Criminal citations for 92 ten year olds? Is there anyone willing to step forward and actually defend this insanity? Opposing this kind of overcriminalization (and its many other manifestations) ought to provide common ground for folks on the left and right.

Perhaps, and I'm just throwing this out there, if schools stopped resembling prisons, students would stop resembling prisoners.

Hanging
Hanging

The criminal acts you describe are also criminal on school property. ANY criminal act off prop is the same as on. There are a few exceptions such as alcohol and tobacco use.

Most districts with a Resource Officer program have a memorandum of understanding that outlines some specific guidelines on what is required/expected between the PD and the district. There is law that requires the reporting of all felonies, drugs, weapons, and assaults on campus. The school cannot hide these. If they do, which many have, they can get in trouble. The officer is given the discretion to do what they need to based on their depts policies and procedures. The school district cannot interfere.

I would imagine a district with an actual PD would have the same issues and guidelines.

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

Thank you HL. Rawlings says, "is there a way that we can provide public safety for DISD through the Dallas Police Dept..."Doesn't Rawlings realize the City is broke and that DPD is going to have to cut personnel? Where is he going to come up with a few hundred extra DPD officers to do the job of the DISD police? And what will it cost to buy-out DISD police?

Hanging
Hanging

If the kid does not pay the ticket it goes to warrant when they turn 17. Of course most will be referred to Juv probation where they serve community service for X number of months then its gone from their record provided they meet their probation requirements.

Most schools do have after school detention on fridays. The problem is that most parents fight it because they dont want to be inconvenienced by having to get their kid several hours after school or have to start their weekend late.

Andy
Andy

I completely agree that schools and teachers ought to have better, more traditional means of discipline available to them--many of which would probably be more punishing than a misdemeanor citation anyway. But except in the rarest of cases, ticketing young children is simply an abuse of the criminal justice system. Ultimately, I'm not sure how much issuing citations affects kids at all, but as a matter of principle the practice ought to be stopped.

Hanging
Hanging

First of all, 10 is the age of reason in Tx where someone is criminally responsible for their actions. As far as the 14 kids under 10, Id be willing to bet they were warnings to get the kid and their respective parents a wake up call because the law doesnt support it that Im aware of.

Tickets to kids in middle school are usually issued after several trips to the principals office, not the first time. Tickets that typically get written are for disrupting the class, fighting, assault, and language. The last 2 offenses have victims that are not the school. Meaning, someone else pressed the charges not the school district. If you fight in public that is diorderly conduct. Like adults, people can get hurt and it is a disruption. Kids get tickets for that 10 and older.

My kids do not go to school to sit in class being distracted by some kid that wont do their own work. The class room is about everyone in there, not just the one kid disrupting and hindering it for the other 20+ wanting to pay attention and learn.

As mentioned in another post. The lack of info in this report is glaring and certainly one sided.

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