Bill requiring police interaction class for teens faces opposition

A proposed law requiring Texas high schools to teach students "proper behavior" during interactions with police received unanimous state senate approval. However, it has at least one critic.

HOUSTON - A proposed law requiring Texas high schools to teach students “proper behavior” during interactions with police received unanimous state senate approval. However, it has at least one critic.

Senate Bill 30, if passed, requires some schools start “training programs” to teach and test kids on “proper behavior” during police interactions.

“It’s not to whoop them in line,” Senator John Whitmire said. “It’s to let them be prepared.”

Whitmire, of Houston, sees little room for critics.

“If anybody opposes this, they’re not living in the real world,” he said.

However, Dr. D.Z. Cofield, the son of a police officer and senior pastor for Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church, feels the bill is wrong.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” Dr. Cofield said. “I just think this bill is akin to teaching women how to dress so they don’t get raped.”

Cofield believes the law assumes some parents do not teach children at home. He also said the proposed legislation ignores what he called the root of problems between officers and members of the African-American community: disrespect.

“When you pull up to people, and you call them outside of their name, and you use disparaging terminology to refer to them, and then you wonder why they don’t respect your or why they look at you the wrong way, if you treat somebody in a disrespectful way, that’s the attitude that you are going to get back,” he said.

Senator Whitmire wants training for police, too. He wrote the bill after hearing requests for such a law during town hall meetings on police relations and said it is supported by people of many races.

Whitmire expects the bill to become law and make a difference after a House vote.

“This is not the total solution to race relationships or community relationships with officers, but it sure is an effort to open the lines of communication,” Sen. Whitmire said.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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