Students in Texas Schools are still sent to juvenile court and adult criminal court for school-based behaviors. This form of punishment is extreme—a failure to follow school rules can lead to fines, an extended court process, and a criminal record that can follow a student for the rest of their life.
Youth can be charged with Class C misdemeanors, like “disorderly conduct,” in school. These charges are heard in municipal and Justice Courts, which are adult criminal courts. Students in these courts are not guaranteed legal representation, face fines of up to $500, and can be saddled with criminal records. These outcomes have far-reaching negative consequences, including on job and college prospects, housing, interpersonal relationships, and military enlistment.
Students can also be charged with other misdemeanors and felonies and sent to juvenile court. Students who are 17 years old and older are treated as adults for these charges and face jail time. The immediate and long-term impact of court involvement cannot be overstated. Children who are sent to court are more likely to be held back in school, drop out, and face future justice system involvement.