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During this past session, the Texas legislature enrolled several laws with the hope of significantly reducing the number of children charged with Class C Misdemeanors while at school (commonly referred to as student ticketing). While these new laws seem to encourage schools to apply alternate methods for addressing student behavior, nothing actually prevents schools from continuing the practice of student ticketing. In other words, these new laws seem to be all BARK and NO BITE…
The new laws merely replace the word “citation” with the word “complaint.” School police officers cannot issue citations but can submit complaints. In a recent article, the Texas Tribune suggests that this will reduce the number of children charged, because the local prosecutor will have discretion “whether to charge the student with a Class C Misdemeanor” or not based on the complaint. This is misleading, because prosecutors always had complete discretion to charge or dismiss citations. Therefore, it is not clear how issuing complaints instead of citations will significantly reduce student ticketing.
To read the entire Texas Tribune article, click here: http://www.texastribune.org/2013/08/29/class-disruption-cases-head-principals-office-not-/
To read the new laws, click here: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/SB00393F.pdf#navpanes=0
Photo Courtesy of The Week.