There are often moments where Texans may consider the police too harsh or too lenient on an accused. Law enforcement officers are awarded some power of discretion in their determination of probable cause and ticketing or fine impositions. With that discretion, public scrutiny can sometimes follow. Whether an officer has been overly punitive or lacking in enforcement is often a subjective question. However, recent ticket sprees in Texas schools have many people likely including criminal defense lawyers, in opposition of the fine impositions on children.
A few months back, in May, a local Texas news source published an article indicating that many Texas school police officers were issuing an excessive number of tickets to students as young as10-years-old. Most of the citations were misdemeanors, taken care of by the payment of a fine. However, those citations go on the minor’s criminal record and cost $200 on average for the student or parent.
Now a local organization and Texas lawmakers are looking into the issue. One student, age 11 was issued a ticket for hitting a school bully with this binder. A lawmaker who investigated several cases indicated that some officers were roaming the school halls, looking for a way to issue a ticket to a student.
Houston Police Chief frowns on the events. About the matter, he said, “unfortunately, we kind of lost our way in this District.” He further indicated that the school discipline system can handle the types of conduct just as well as or better than ticketing.
Researchers indicate that since May, the amount of ticketing has gone down significantly. At times, these tickets can be dismissed and parents whose children have received criminal tickets at school should consider their criminal defense options.
Source: KTRK-TV, “Senators: Texas school discipline policy too harsh,” Ted Oberg, Oct. 31, 2012