By Michael Slother - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - When children misbehave in class they often receive detention or a trip to the principal's office, but at Smylie Wilson Middle School a Lubbock Police Officer wrote a child a ticket and it comes with a fine and probation.
The parents of the child are asking why a class disruption wasn't handled by the teacher or the school.
13-year-old Jalen McQueen was playing board games with other students when the classroom got loud. Instead of being disciplined by his teacher, he was given the ticket. Now he worries it will come back to haunt him because it could stay on his record until he's 18.
Lubbock ISD contracts with Lubbock police for resource officers on campus. Jalen says one of those officers was in the classroom back on October 29th, but left when the teacher came in. Jalen's mother Teresa thinks the teacher should have handled the disruption, not the officer.
"She's in charge of the classroom. It was a free day. She's grading papers and they're having fun. Groups of kids are going to be loud. If they're causing a problem, take that specific thing away; don't allow them to do it anymore," Teresa said.
When the classroom got loud, Jalen says the police officer came back to ask who was making all the noise. "It was a little louder than normal. It wasn't an outside voice though."
Jalen told us when the officer asked where the noise was coming from a group of girls pointed toward him and his friends. He went to an office where the policeman issued the ticket. None of his other friends went with the officer.
"I asked him if I could call my mom before I signed it and he told me I couldn't," Jalen said.
The ticket comes with a $124 fine, probation, and could remain on his record until he turns 18. He worries how that could affect his college search. "It's making me nervous that if someone else doesn't have a ticket or something on their resume that they'll pick them over me because I have a ticket," he said.
Teresa says when she called the school for answers they had nothing but praise for her son. "The principal told me ‘We don't have problems with Jalen. We've never had to talk with him about anything.'"
We left a message with the officer Monday afternoon but didn't hear back, neither did Teresa. "I contacted the Lubbock Police Station to see if they could relay my message to that police officer. He hasn't called me back yet."
LISD's central office told us today was the first they heard about the incident, and they are continuing to investigate. They did release a statement:
Lubbock ISD contracts with the Lubbock Police Department for additional resource officers who serve campuses on a rotating basis. This citation came as a result of a contracted LPD officer's personal observation of the student's classroom conduct. The officer issued the ticket, a Class "C" misdemeanor, which is the same level of offense as a traffic ticket. While the officer was within his authority in issuing the ticket, district administration will encourage the use of remedies besides police intervention in incidents of serious classroom disruption.
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