This week, Texas Appleseed, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), and other Texas-based organizations sent a letter to the McKinney Independent School District (ISD) asking that it implement training for the McKinney Police Department officers who work in its schools. This is the same police department where former officer Eric Casebolt, who has since resigned, was videotaped using excessive force against an African-American teenager following a pool party. Following Governor Abbott’s signing of HB 2684, a new law requiring school districts in Texas serving over 30,000 students to implement mandatory training of school police officers, the groups asked that the smaller McKinney ISD voluntarily adopt this training. The law outlines mandatory training in adolescent development and de-escalation techniques for larger districts, and the groups also urge inclusion of training on implicit racial-bias training to help address the district’s discipline disparities along racial lines.
Yesterday, the McKinney ISD released a public statement expressing its “complete agreement that supplemental training in de-escalation techniques and child-development instruction is beneficial, and both the McKinney Police Department and McKinney ISD are in full support of requiring the upcoming training that will be provided by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE).” While school district officials did not believe that they were disciplining students in a racially discriminatory way, it agreed to “continue to monitor …[its] school climate, disciplinary practices, and policies,” and “welcome[s] any additional training that may have a positive impact on the program and the safety of …[its] students.” Data show that since the district’s elimination of the categories of “Disruption of Class and Disruption of Transportation,” overall ticketing of students has decreased, but ticketing of African American students for the category of “Disorderly Conduct” has skyrocketed from 47 percent in 2013, to 61 percent in 2015, while ticketing of white students for the same offense has decreased from 28 percent to 15 percent.
Texas Appleseed and LDF will continue to work to ensure that McKinney ISD school resource officers receive the training needed to help address and remedy discipline disparities along racial lines and promote positive and inclusive school climates.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is not a part of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) although LDF was founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. Since 1957, LDF has been a completely separate organization. Please refer to us in media attributions as the “NAACP Legal Defense Fund” or “LDF”.