Disrupting Class? Get A Ticket, Go To Court

Swearing at your teacher can land you in court if you’re attending school in Texas.

Students in Dallas and other Texas cities who act up in class are increasingly being sent to the campus police, rather than to the principal’s office, according to a report released by Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit justice advocacy group.

Hundreds Of Class C Misdemeanor Tickets

According to the report, hundreds of students have been charged with Class C misdemeanors for infractions that used to be handled by a trip to a school administrator’s office.

From The Dallas Morning News:

“Disrupting class, using profanity, misbehaving on a school bus, student fights and truancy once meant a trip to the principal’s office. Today, such misbehavior results in a Class C misdemeanor ticket and a trip to court for thousands of Texas students and their families each year,” the group said in the report, Texas’ School-to-Prison Pipeline.

“Criminalization of student misbehavior extends to even the youngest students,” the report said. “In Texas, students as young as 6 have been ticketed at school in the past five years, and it is not uncommon for elementary school students to be ticketed by school-based law enforcement.”

Black students have been disproportionately ticketed. During a recent school year in the Dallas school district, 62 percent of misdemeanor tickets were issued to black students, even though they make up 30 percent of enrollment.

It’s hard to understand why misbehaving on the school bus or disrupting a class constitute reasons for a trip to court.

Ticketing Should Be A Last Resort

As Texas Appleseed recommends, ticketing students under 14 should be banned and ticketing older students should occur only as a last resort.

Discipline is a huge issue for teachers, and it is important that all schools have a solid plan in place for behavior management. Charging young people with misdemeanors should not be part of that plan.

School Police Should Protect, Not Punish

It’s becoming increasingly common in K-12 public schools to have a police presence on campus every day, but the intent should be to provide a safe environment, not to issue as many tickets as possible.

What do you think? Is this a good use of police enforcement?

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Creative Commons - Shaun Greiner www.flickr.com/photos/thegreiner/2120861428/


Brooke W.
Brooke W.7 years ago

stapled to a discipline slip that the teacher had written "Was told twice to stop talking." We went to court and stood in front of the judge that read my son some sort of Miranda Right and asked him if he understood the charges against him. SERIOUSLY?!?!! He's 10, and quite honestly, I didn't understand the charges. When he was asked if he was guilty, he looked at me. Not knowing what was going on or how to go about all of this, not having an attorney, I said "guilty". The judge then sentenced my son to one year of probation and fined me $500.00. He now has a Criminal Juvenile Record for "talking in class" that will follow him and stay on record until he is an adult. How can any one think this is the way to handle minor infractions? This has nothing to do with "bad parenting" and it has nothing to do with dumping the responsibility of the parent onto the school district. This has everything to do with the lack of responsibility on behalf of the school district. Now days its too easy for districts to just wipe their hands of any responsibilities and call on the district police to do their job. What happened to detention or ISS? Why are we "the tax payers" paying for their salaries, rising taxes to pay for the district police, paying the courts for all these kids to be labeled a criminal for "talking in class? I agree that there needs to be tickets, and I agree there needs to be campus police, but, they should be used for the reasons they were originally intended

Brooke W.
Brooke W.7 years ago

I am one of the parents that some people on here are so quick to blame, and I am shocked that people are for this! Issuing a Class C Misdemeanor to school age kids was meant for the "Zero Tolerance/Safe Schools" program that districts added in the wake of the Columbine High School tragedy. These tickets were to be issued for severe or violent infractions, e.g., fighting (verbal or physical to student or staff), weapons, major classroom disruptions, etc.. School districts also use it for truancy, drug related issues etc.. Unfortunately, the law left loopholes that The Texas Education Agency allows districts to use at their discretion. They're abusing it and using it for the wrong reasons. TEA doesn't require districts to report any data on issuing tickets or what the ticket was for, which is why politicians on every level are beginning to question the astronomical amount of ticketing "Disruption of class" and close the gap that allows districts to abuse it. My son was into his 2nd month of 5th grade and barely 10 years old when he received a Class C Misdemeanor ticket for talking in class. The principal called and told me that he had my son in his office and that he was going to call the campus police to issue him a ticket. Terrified at what I was going to see, I looked at it as soon as he came home. It was a ticket that an adult would get for speeding. There at the bottom was my 10 yr. olds signature, right next to the officers signature. The charge "Disrupting Class"....cont

Shelly Smith
Shelly Smith7 years ago

This is a great idea, since parents dont parent anymore the schools have to do SOMETHING, otherwise they catch hell b/c the kids aren't learning anything..."duh" all kids do now in schools is d*ck off, be disruptive & get in trouble. I hope it helps, & if it does, I hope more schools give it a shot. Parents, if you dont like it, raise your freakin kids to have some basic form of respect...oh wait, that's right, that's more work than applying for welfare. (& before anyone has a meltdown, I am not speaking of ALL parents...just like 97% of the population...tell me you haven't seen it!)

Rachel H.
Rachel H7 years ago

You guys who are against this... have you SEEN the state of some of these classes? I only got out of High School about 4 years ago, and let me tell you, it's a nasty place to be. The teachers are left with no resort. Sending the students to the Principal just gives them time out of class; their parents don't care. I even heard a parent arguing on the phone just the other day, something along the lines of 'It's the school's -expletive- problem. I don't control what he does at school!'. You give them extra homework, they don't do it, because what are the teacher's going to do? Fail them? As if!

By giving these students tickets, you are putting pressure on the parent to start PARENTING instead of passing off responsibility on the school. It's one thing if Johnny's suspended and can just hang around at home playing video games. The parents don't have to deal with him. It's another when they have to take time out of their day to go to court. Until there's a better, proven solution, I don't have a problem with this.

Amber M.
Amber Beasley7 years ago

only as a last resort.

johan l.
paul l7 years ago

Excellent idea! Not 6 year olds of course, they should be reported to their parents.
In South Africa, plenty of teachers in black schools are physically attacked by students.
Swearing or other ways of ill-discipline is the norm rather then the exception!
The fact that proportionally many more black kids are reportedly swearing, should be laid at the door of their parents or playmates in the streets.
This has nothing to do with racism!

Charles Edwards
Charles Edwards7 years ago

Sadly our legal system has over the years removed every 'threat' a teacher or school could bring to bear on students in order to retain a learning environment for the majority of kids. Now since you cannot hold the student responsible, go for the root cause-lackadaisical parenting and make them responsible. YES!!!!! And for those that would have me in an uproar to defend their little monsters, as in an old song I remember from back a few years-'My give a damns busted. You sowed it, now you reap it. Stand up to YOUR responsibility and make your little munchkin learn that they ARE NOT the leader of the universe for everyone to bow down to.. You are not doing them a favor. You will not be around forever to cover for them. DO NOT let them learn after they are thrown out into the 'cold cruel' world that just because they are there the world revolves around them. The rude awakening they will get could set them back years. TEACH THEM TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEMSELVES>>>

Lin Moy
Lin M7 years ago

I don't think ticketing the parents would much help the child to learn from what they do. Children as young as 6, now that's stupid. In Jr. High and High school, 3 strikes and u get a ticket is a good idea. The kid thinks of what they do and it might be more helpfull to make them wash off the painted walls/etc. or to buy what ever they took from another, or just make the kid be responcible for what he did. NOt the parent. The parent was probably working two jobs to send this kid to school to learn,not to play around getting into trouble.

Christian R.
Land Lost7 years ago

It makes the kids problem the parents problem who in turn makes it the kids problem. There's a logic.

Lynn C.
Lynn C7 years ago

Corporate prisons = concerted efforts to fill them. Budget crunch = hand out tickets to anybody and everybody you can.
I do not think a police state is a good place to grow up and live in. It's probably discouraging to the kids too.