For Immediate Release
AUSTIN - Following yesterday’s statement by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that it does not have the authority to prohibit police officers from using Tasers in public schools, Texans Care For Children called on state leaders to take action. TEA’s announcement was a response to a request from Texans Care For Children and other organizations seeking a ban on the use of Tasers and pepper spray in schools. The organizations appealed to TEA for action after the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement said it did not have the authority to act. In November, a police officer used a Taser on a student in a Bastrop ISD high school, resulting in the student hitting his head and spending 52 days in a coma.
Lauren Rose, Juvenile Justice Policy Associate at Texans Care for Children, issued the following statement after TEA's announcement:
"If these agencies don't have the authority to establish basic standards to keep children safe in school, then we need the governor and legislature to step up to the plate."
"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."
"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."
Texans Care for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that leads policy advances for Texas kids. Covering topics including health, early childhood, juvenile justice, children’s mental health, child protection, the state budget and equity, Texans Care writes a column every Monday that is published in the Austin American-Statesman.