Texas has been in the news many times recently for police officers and their respective departments being sued for assaulting students in school. San Antonio, Abilene, Bastrop and Round Rock have had incidents of varying degrees where the police on duty, in and around the schools, allegedly mishandled young students. Since the early 1990s, many schools have allowed officers on school premises in uniform and armed. Consequently, the number of arrests of students in school has increased drastically and has affected students as young as 4 years old. Most public schools in Texas have police officers or School Resources Officers (SROs) assigned to patrol the school premises, including after school events.
Use of Physical Force Against Students in Texas
In a more recent series of incidents, an officer named Barry Bond was accused by 3 sets of parents for physically abusing their children in schools in the Abilene Independent School District. In all three incidents, the officer used violent, physical force to discipline children, including a 6-year-old. Besides being accused of using violent force against children, Officer Bond was also accused of having no training in dealing with young children in an educational setting. Every officer working in Texas schools is required by the Legislature to complete a training course that is specifically designed to teach officers how to use “de-escalation techniques” rather than physical force with kids. However, the training is mandatory only for school districts of 30,000 students or more; Abilene was only 17,000.
It is understandable that the presence of police officers in schools is necessary for safety of students and faculty however; if their presence causes harm to a student or makes them feel scared, legal action can be taken. Children can suffer lifelong mental and physical consequences if they experience the kind of behavior exhibited by Officer Bond. There have been incidents in the country where behavior of students with disabilities has been criminalized by the police in school and punished by physical force (resulting in arrests). Not only is this unconstitutional, it is also harmful to the cognitive abilities of a child.
Why should you be concerned?
According to Texas Appleseed, an advocacy and research group that works to change unjust laws and policies, campus policing is the largest and fastest growing area of law enforcement in Texas. It has resulted in Texas schools experiencing a substantial increase in issuance of misdemeanor tickets and arrests in school, along with many more students encountering officers using physical force as a leading disciplining technique.
Schools should be a place for opening the minds of young Americans to new ideas and learning. A comfortable and peaceful environment is key to achieving that goal.
If law enforcement officers use violent techniques to address disciplinary issues, it can affect the academic and non-academic lives of students drastically. If you or your child has experienced unlawful use of force in a school in Texas by a SRO or any other law enforcement figure, you have the right to complain and file a lawsuit against them. It is imperative that you speak to an attorney right away if you or someone you know has been the victim of assault, as there is a statute of limitations dictating how long after the assault that you may have to file a civil suit.
Rad Law Firm has physical assault attorneys who have vast experience in representing clients of different ages, in Dallas, Fort Worth, Brownsville and Austin, who have experienced illegal use of force against them. Our attorneys are ready to talk today and will work hard to investigate your case and make sure you don’t go through this process on your own. Contact Rad Law today for a free consultation.