TX Chief Justice: Stop Sending Students to Court for Disruptive Conduct


Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson of the Texas Supreme Court criticized the practice of writing Class C misdemeanor tickets for disruptive conduct in schools, forcing children to answer the charge in court and leaving some, particularly those who cannot afford a lawyer, vulnerable to arrest and a criminal record, reports the Austin American-Statesman. About 300,000 such tickets are written each year, he said in the State of the Judiciary address to the state legislature. “We are criminalizing our children for nonviolent offenses,” Jefferson said. “We must keep our children in school, and out of our courts, to give them the opportunity to follow a path of success, not a path toward prison.” Jefferson praised legislators for spending $17.5 million on legal aid for the poor in 2012-13, but said that legal aid programs meet only 20 percent of indigent Texans' civil court needs.

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