In an effort to increase safety in police interactions, one lawmaker is proposing that Texas schools teach high schoolers how to act during police stops.
Last week, State Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston), chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, released a proposal announcing, “his intention to file legislation to require schools to educate our children on how to interact with law enforcement when they are stopped for a traffic violation or detained.”
The proposed bill calls on the State Board of Education to create additional curriculum for ninth graders that would focus on law enforcement duties and interaction to combat unnecessarily escalating situations between civilians and police.
In an interview with Breitbart Texas, Whitmire’s Political Director Larance Coleman said that, if passed, the bill would fall under the Texas Education Code Section 28.025, which would make this curriculum a prerequisite for obtaining a high school diploma.
The approach seems somewhat one-sided, and many argue the deterioration of trust between the community and police can only be repaired through a joint effort. Also, Texas driver’s education programs already require those seeking a license to learn how to interact with police during stops.
Until more information about the legislation is available, it is hard to understand how adding curriculum to ninth grade education will lead to improved outcomes across the state.
A similar bill was signed by Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner in August and will be implemented in both private and public schools during the 2017-2018 school year.
Whitmire said he released the proposal so that he could get feedback on it to use when writing the bill. Police unions have withheld comment until more details emerge about what would be included in the curriculum.
Education is undoubtedly one area that needs to be improved to see a change in civilian and police interactions. But, more importantly, policymakers and stakeholders should be looking for community driven ways, rather than top-down legislation, to rebuild the lack of trust between the two groups.