AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Efforts to keep misbehaving teenagers out of the criminal justice system are advancing in the Texas Legislature.
In a unanimous vote on Thursday, the Senate approved a bill that would limit the practice of issuing tickets for minor classroom offenses.
One independent study has shown that 275,000 non-traffic tickets are issued to juveniles in Texas every year. Others have shown that Black and Latino students are more frequently charged with misdemeanors for acting out in school. Studies also show those who receive tickets are more likely to enter the juvenile jails.
A panel of judges recommended the changes. Support came from civil rights groups and from conservatives swayed by cost savings.
Dallas Democratic Sen. Royce West's proposal would replace the tickets with counseling and community service.