Is This a Good Idea? Mandated Classes to Teach Officer Interaction

By Merrill Hope, 10-2-16, at Breitbart:


If one Texas lawmaker has his say on police-community relationships, it could become a high school graduation requirement that ninth grade students learn how to properly interact with law enforcement.

State Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston) announced Thursday he plans to file a bill mandating that schools teach students how to behave when they get stopped by officers for traffic violations, or for any other reason. The two-sided legislation hopes to minimize negative interactions by addressing how both sides engage with each other.

“There is no home team or visiting team. We must all come together to develop the best strategies to improve relations and trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” said Whitmire in a press release. “Increased training and education for both peace officers and our students will help foster positive relations and interactions.”

Whitmire told San Antonio News Radio WOAI: “You can’t win on the streets when you have been pulled over by an officer, if you don’t follow his or her instructions, it’s just that simple.”

He noted young people may not be hearing that message at home. Whitmire said the course could include police and community leaders talking with kids about what is a police stop, what are their rights in such a situation, as well as the rights of police officers. The goal is to find the best ways to affect a positive outcome on both sides.

The bill actually would charge the State Board of Education (SBOE) with establishing the curriculum guidelines for ninth graders to learn about law enforcement duties and strengthen their knowledge base on successful interactions.

On Friday, Larance Coleman, political director for Whitmire, told Breitbart Texas the bill would become part of Texas Education Code under Section 28.025, making the course a requirement to receive a high school diploma. If passed, this legislation would be the first of its kind in the state.

 Coleman underscored the bill remains in its earliest stages. Whitmire made the announcement to float the concept and solicit feedback. He will submit a draft in mid-November for debate in preparation for the 85th Legislature that convenes in January 2017.

The Senate Criminal Justice Committee next meets in Austin on October 4. Whitmire asked members to review statewide law enforcement efforts that engage community leaders and increase their involvement in communities, recommend ways to reduce the number of injuries and deaths to or by law enforcement, study the dangers to police officers, and examine the collection and distribution of threat assessment data.

Whitmire authored the historic House Bill 2398, the 2013 law that decriminalized truancy. It requires schools to take common sense steps in addressing the deeper issues behind a student’s habitual failure to attend school.  Judges may order students to counseling or tutoring but no longer do minors leave a courtroom with a criminal record.


It’s good for people to know how to interact when pulled over by law enforcement, but you’d think simple common sense would tell the driver to be respectful and don’t make any sudden moves to cause alarm. While Whitmire’s idea is still just a draft, there a lot of problems with it that I can see, should it pass into law.

The number one problem with this is the thinking that government needs to compensate for parents’ lack of teaching their kids right and wrong. Politicians, primarily democrats, are stuck in this nanny state mode which always costs taxpayers more money.

In doing the parents’ job for them, this bill would also increase the workload on teachers who are already overtasked with government compliance garbage. It also wastes valuable classroom time when those kids could be learning some basics and skills they’re not getting.

Turning this lesson into a class is a huge overkill when all that’s needed is a five minute conversation about behavior with law enforcement, but leave it to a democrat to super-size it at taxpayer expense.


Categories: Political

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8 replies

  1. I’m inclined to agree with Brian on this one. The disintegration of the family unit, especially the black family, means that there is a lack of substantive conversation and training on real life topics in the house. I just want to see the draft proposal.


    • True the family unit is disintegrating, but forcing it on kids in school still won’t cover the drop-outs or grownups who act like an ass when stopped. It just gives the government more control on subject matter in schools. From what we’ve seen lately, it’s not high school kids causing the problems anyway.


  2. I think that I agree with CW that I don’t like the idea of replacing some really necessary education with what ought to be simple common sense – and something that could more properly be included in a driver education course. It’s really no more complicated than everyday human interaction with each other. When one is argumentative and belligerent with ANY other person, not just a cop, you’re asking for trouble – it’s that simple. Cooperate with a legally authorized policeman and it’s likely that you’ll suffer nothing worse than a ticket.


    • You’re right Garnet, a DE course is the perfect place for it, and for all I know it might be a part of it now. It’s been a very long time since I took DE, so I don’t remember. It’s certainly not worth adding a new class nor making it a mandate.


  3. I agree with you, Kathy, and I find it a little rich that this proposal is coming from a Democrat, given that he and his Party have rewarded and emboldened the very behavior that they now supposedly want to correct. This is a classic example of the Left creating a problem then presuming to be the solution by – of course – giving the government yet more power (and, yes, giving them one more sliver of curriculum to preside over amounts to more power).

    If the parents at a school want to voluntarily trade an hour or two of the silly fluff they currently impose on kids and allow the local police to come in and talk to kids about what the expectations are when they interact with police, I’d be okay with that, but I would be disinclined to add yet another law to Texas’ books and further dilute our already subpar focus on proper school subjects. This should be a parental responsibility, reinforced by real-life experience if necessary, and we should not make it easier to circumvent those paths.


    • Absolutely, CW, the Dem tactics never change in their ongoing quest to be the hero, and their supporters will love it because they never realize they’re the ones who created the problem in the first place. In true lib style they present it as a much needed move that would help people – after all, that’s what they’re all about, right? They even use all the right buzz-words to complete the illusion, like ‘foster positive relations’ and we’re all on the same team, when in truth it’s really about more control, as you said.


  4. I actually don’t have a problem with this, if it’s taught in a way that makes sense, and doesn’t try to convey a message that the cops are always right no matter what.

    The fact that cops CAN make mistakes, and one’s not AUTOMATICALLY guilty if cited by the cops, should be part of the class. One should ALWAYS be aware of their rights, including the right to challenge a charge in court.

    However, that having been said, recent events clearly illustrate, at least to me, that too many kids AREN’T being taught these basic lessons in their homes. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed in some manner, and this sounds like it might meet that need.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sure, it could meet that need, and yes, it might need to be addressed, but that brings us back to schools and governments compensating for the lack of parenting when it’s not their job. For years we’ve been saying we need to get the government out of our schools, and creating a class for this subject is counter to that message.

      It’s true that cops make mistakes, but Whitmire isn’t talking about what happens after a citation is issued – he’s talking about the driver’s behavior when they get stopped. Instead of it becoming an additional expense to taxpayers and a mandated class for graduating, it could be done with a list of tips on the subject for the student to read and the parent to sign and send back to the teacher. Democrats need to remember KISS (keep it simple, stupid) and stop with the overkill and spending more money where it’s not needed.


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