North Texas

North Texas Schools Prepare Lessons on Police Interactions

North Texas students will soon embark on a groundbreaking classroom instruction which will teach them how to safely interact with police officers during traffic stops.

During the 2017 legislative session, state lawmakers voted to enact the Community Safety Education Act, which requires all high school students take the course once before graduating — starting with the current freshman class.

Last week, Texas school districts received their instructor’s guide and a 16-minute video that students must watch about safe interaction with police, using reenactments about the right and wrong ways.

NBC 5 is now learning more about how many North Texas school districts will implement the course work.

Fort Worth ISD will likely start implementation of the coursework after Winter Break.

“Our teams will soon be meeting with law enforcement to determine how we will be collaborating,” Dallas ISD representative Sandra Verduzco said.

A plan is expected next week.

“Grand Prairie ISD has already started using a video that was produced last school year by the Grand Prairie Police Department in coordination with the GPISD,” Grand Prairie ISD representative Sam Buchmeyer said. “This year’s plan is to use it extensively through our U.S. History classes.”

“At this time, our proposed plan is to take the resources provided by (the Texas Education Agency) and incorporate them into a presentation that will be delivered to all 9th grade students after state testing in the spring,” Garland ISD representative Mida Milligan said. “Campus LIGHT counselor and the campus SRO (we have them at every campus) will present this information in an assembly that will be followed up with some in-class discussions and writing activities.”

Milligan said the proposed plan must be approved by Garland ISD leadership.

Carrollton – Farmers Branch ISD representative Angela Shelley Brown said schools will start implementing the coursework in Social Studies courses in the Spring of 2019.

“We are incorporating TEA’s Community Safety Education Act curriculum officially in our social studies courses at the high school level, specifically where it fits appropriately within the structure of the course,” Mesquite ISD representative Elizabeth Fernandez said. “ Helping students understand their rights as citizens as well as their responsibilities fits within the TEKS of World History, U.S. History and Government.”

“In addition, Senate Bill 30 inspired a more comprehensive learning opportunity for Mesquite ISD elementary through high school students,” Fernandez added. “We have developed curriculum under our Cultivating Culture umbrella covering these areas: service, integrity, grit, embracing diversity and empathy.”

“We will be embedding the curriculum into our government course that students take when they’re seniors,” Arlington ISD representative Leslie Johnston Birdow said.

“Our district's Government Curriculum Writers came together last summer and designed a lesson to meet all the requirements of the new law and implemented it this school year,” Keller ISD representative Bryce Nieman said. “The lesson is a required portion of all government courses and is written into our U.S. Government course curriculum. U.S. Government is a senior-level course at our high schools.”

“We are working on a plan to implement and teach the course to expectations. We will begin instruction during second semester,” HEBISD representative Deanna Hullender said.

“The students that attend Prosper High School in grades 9-12 will watch the TEA required video and be instructed using the required materials by their classroom teachers,” Prosper ISD representative Christal Hankey said. “The instructional material and video will be presented to students by December 21, 2018.”

“In addition, Prosper ISD video production students are creating a video that introduces all students to our Prosper High School Police Officers,” Hankey added. “We are fortunate in Prosper ISD to employ our own ISD Police Department and we feel it is vitally important that our students hear the same message from the state as they do from our Prosper ISD Police Officers.”

“In the video, our officers will address the specific areas of how to appropriately interact with a peace officer set forth by the Texas Education Agency,” Hankey said.

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