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ACLU Of Texas Targets Use-Of-Force Policies In Public Schools

Flickr user Bill Selak

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has been attempting to change the Texas school system’s use-of-force policies for on-campus police officers since a November 2013 incident that left a Bastrop student in a coma (see video below).

"We sent a letter originally to the Commission on Law Enforcement and we were unfortunately told by them they didn’t have the authority to institute a ban," said Matt Simpson with the Austin office of the ACLU of Texas.

So now the group is turning its attention to Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams. Officials with the Texas Education Agency say they don't have the authority to make these changes and that use-of-force issues are up to local control, meaning each individual school district decides what police tactics to use when comes to using stun guns or pepper spray on students.

"Even though they can’t issue a formal ban they could make it a best practice that these weapons not be carried on campus," Simpson said. "They could institute much more comprehensive use of force reporting from schools, so at least we have some sense of how often tasers (stun guns) are being used."

Simpson said they are also looking ahead, hoping the TEA is able to change how use of force is reported for policy changes they are planning during the 2015 legislative session.

View the surveillance video of the Bastrop incident and learn more about the case via KVUE-TV and the Austin American-Statesman:

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.