Policy Recommendations

There are a number of changes to policies and practices at every level that would have a positive impact on Texas students:

School Level

  • Adopt research-based alternatives to punitive school discipline.  Examples include Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Restorative Practices, and Social and Emotional Learning.  See the “Alternatives to School Removals” section for more information.
  • Promote a safe and supportive school climate by ending the use of discretionary classroom removals and reducing the presence of school police officers.

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District Level

  • Ensure educators and administrators have adequate resources so that they do not feel tempted to rely on exclusionary school discipline, police officers, and court interventions to address student behavior.
  • End the use of discretionary classroom exclusions like suspensions and alternative school placements district-wide. A ban on discretionary removals can start with the youngest students, in grades pre-K through 2nd and expand to older students.
  • Create new contracts with law enforcement entities so that the role of police officers is limited to responding to emergencies that threaten school safety.  These contracts are often called Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs).

State Level

  • Eliminate fines for Class C misdemeanors and allow for automatic expunction of Class C misdemeanor criminal records.
  • Expand training requirements so that all police officers who interact with students in schools have youth-focused training.
  • Raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 years old to 18 years old.
  • Prohibit the use of tasers and pepper spray in schools.

All

  • Improve data collection and publication so that Texas families are aware of classroom removals and all student-police interactions.
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