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State Law Could Change School Discipline Model, Again

Updated: Tuesday, June 3 2014, 06:14 PM CDT

A state law is designed to slap a class C misdemeanor on the worst public students, but officers say a change to the law has made it hard to write tickets.

In 2012, 200,000 citations tied up the legal system and kept students out of the classroom.

Offenders included class clowns, girls with too much perfume and kids chewing gum.

In the 83rd Legislative Session, SB 393 and SB 114 established a compliant process to cut down on who could be ticketed.

That forced officers to a tiered discipline model where a prosecutor would decide if the child was charged or not.

Officers say the process takes too much time and allows the worst offenders to keep misbehaving.

"Something that may take 10 minutes takes them two hours," said Spring Brach ISD Chief of Police Chuck Brawer, "We need to have our capability back to issue citations for narcotic paraphernalia, alcohol, for large fights."

But the Texas Judicial Council says the process works.

"We've seen a 23 percent decrease in the number of kids being charged with failure to attend school," said Executive Director David Slayton.

It will be up to the Texas Senate Jurisprudence Committee to decide if more changes are needed.

"98.9 percent of all of our kids go to school that want to have a safe environment and want to learn. We have that one percent or less that don't want to do it," said Brawer.

On Tuesday, Senator Royce West created a working group to come up with ideas.

It will be up to lawmakers in the next legislative session to give the power back to officers.

By Christie Post

State Law Could Change School Discipline Model, Again

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