For 52 days, Noe Niño De Rivera, a seventeen-year-old Bastrop ISD student, lay in a coma. He had suffered a traumatic brain injury after a school resource officer in his high school used a Taser on him.
This disturbing incident has focused attention on the need to ban Tasers and pepper spray from Texas public schools.
Instead of allowing cops to rely on Tasers and tactics geared towards threats on the street, state leaders should ensure that police officers in schools have the tools and training appropriate for interacting with children.
We have joined with several other organizations to call on the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and Governor Perry to take action. (Here are the links to our letters to TEA, TCOLE, and the Governor.)
TEA and TCOLE report that they don’t have the authority to keep these weapons out of our schools. If they don't have the authority to establish basic standards to keep children safe in school, then we need the governor to step up to the plate.
Momentum for change continues to build. The San Antonio Express-News recently called on the state to ban the use of these weapons on students in schools. Hundreds of concerned Texans joined a new Justice for Noe group on Facebook. The Chief of Police in Austin recently announced that APD will treat Tasers as more serious weapons and establish more oversight over their use by officers. After a school police officer appeared to punch a high school student in the face during a disturbing incident in San Antonio, that community is talking about what it expects from cops in schools. We are hopeful that the new School Safety Task Force, created by SB 1556 during the last legislative session, will also address the use of Tasers in schools and the need for proper training for school police officers.
As Texas grapples with the proper role for police officers in schools, the disproportionate punishment of minority students, and other school safety challenges, we need state leaders to ensure children are treated fairly and safely.