Two bills passed during the 83rd Texas Legislature prevent school district police officers from issuing citations (tickets) for student misbehavior that is categorized as low-level criminal activity. The practice of charging students with Class C misdemeanors for misbehavior at school had become common place in some Texas districts. Class C misdemeanors include such behavior as disorderly conduct, disruption of class, disruption of transportation, and trespass on school grounds. The new laws do not limit the authority of campus or district administrators to respond to such misconduct with appropriate consequences from the district’s Student Code of Conduct, such as suspension, removal to a DAEP, or expulsion, in accordance with the offense. Additionally, the new laws do not address higher level offenses, such as Class A or Class B misdemeanors so the ability of school district officers to handle those situations is not affected.
School district police officers may submit complaints about students who have engaged in Class C misdemeanors, but it will be up to a prosecutor to determine whether or not to charge the student. If a student is charged, the prosecutor can choose options ranging from getting tutoring to doing community service to undergoing counseling before sending the student to court.