locker stock photo - Clay Duda, JJIE.org

Texas Educators May Soon Gain Access to Student’s Criminal Records

A piece of Texas legislation that would provide educators with detailed information about a student’s criminal history is poised to become law. If passed the measure would provide teachers and school officials access to juvenile records that have traditionally been confidential in most states, according to an Associated Press story. Educators and juvenile advocates were at odds about the effectiveness of the new measure. Educators said teacher safety was paramount, but advocates feared revealing students’ criminal information would undermine the work of the juvenile corrections system -– a framework that aims to allow youth who’s decision-making skills aren’t fully developed to move beyond early mistakes in life, according to the AP. While current Texas laws allow teachers to be informed verbally about a student’s criminal past, the new legislation would require law enforcement to relinquish “all pertinent details” about a young offender’s history to the school superintendent.

Ken Trump: School Crime Stats Unreliable

Parents don’t know what they don’t know, and nobody is rushing to tell them. School crime statistics overall are underreported and unreliable. Student Victimization in U.S. Schools: Results For the 2007 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey was released this week. It didn’t take long for Tweets to pop up on Twitter announcing the report’s citations on students who were victims of bullying. The report highlighted “findings” which were so obvious, one would have to ask why the federal government would even ask such questions and perhaps more importantly, why they would think it would be some major revelation to readers:

“The percentage of student victims of violent crimes who reported being afraid of attack or harm at school (23.2 percent) was higher than that of nonvictims (4.9 percent) (figure 5 and table 7)”
“A higher percentage of students reporting any crime avoided specific places at school because of fear of attack or harm than did nonvictims (13.1 percent vs.

Zero Tolerance Bill Sails through Senate

Georgia’s zero tolerance school policies are getting an overhaul.  SB299 would give school officials more discretion to handle discipline problems. The bill would stop the widespread use of rigid zero tolerance policies that currently mandate arrest and jail for children, and encourage principals to use common sense.  It passed the senate without opposition and now heads for the House. Sponsor Emanuel Jones ( D-Decatur) got involved when the son of a friend was kicked out of school after he accidentally brought a fishing knife to campus, then told school officials about his mistake. The boy landed in jail. Former School Resource Officer Jason Mitchell tells the AJC he has “grave concerns about public safety” if the bill becomes law.  He claims a child arrested for delinquent activity could not be held in detention without a court hearing first.  And since juvenile court judges are not available 24/7,  police might have to release some dangerous suspects.