On December 7, 2016, Houston Senator John Whitmire filed Bill 273 in congress. Bill 273 calls for the inclusion of instruction regarding police officers in the required curriculum for ninth grade public school students. The required course would teach students their own rights and responsibilities, plus police duties. The goal of this bill is to reduce violent confrontations, senator Whitmire says. Sen. John Whitmire who is currently chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee stated that the legislation was, “an important part of our efforts to reduce escalated and too often deadly encounters between officers and civilians. 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.”.
Senate Bill 273 would direct the State Board of Education to adopt a required course that would teach:
- The role and responsibilities of law officers.
- Proper behavior for civilians and police.
- Individual rights during encounters with police, and laws regarding questioning and detention by officers, “including any law requiring a person to present proof of identity.”
- How to file a complaint against an officer.
“As we continue to increase training and standards for law enforcement and hold law enforcement accountable for their actions, we must also provide our young people with the knowledge of how best to respond to law enforcement and just as important provide an understanding of what their rights are when they interact with police officers,” Whitmire said.
If Senate Bill 273 is approved, the course would begin in the 2018-19 school year.
Original Article & Information by Chuck Lindell – American-Statesman Staff