Texas high school students required to take course, watch video - FOX34 Lubbock

Texas high school students required to take course, watch video on how to interact with police

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

There is a new requirement to graduate high school in Texas this school year.

A new state law, the Community Safety Education Act, requires Texas high school students to take a training course and watch a 16-minute video on how to interact with police.

According to the Texas Education Agency, the course is designed to educate students on the behavioral expectations of citizens and officers during traffic stops.

While required for graduation, Joni Rodela, with Lubbock ISD, said it is not like other core classes. 
"This isn't like a long, drawn-out semester course. It can be done in the course of just a few days. But according to the Senate Bill, it does have to be done in the context of a core content area class, something that every student is going to take," Rodela said.

Rodela said this is aimed to resolve any misconceptions students may have in interacting with an officer, especially after multiple police-citizen shootings recently. 

"There's been a lot on the media, and on social media, that it's very important for students to know to address and know what is an appropriate conversation. What does that look like? What are my rights and what are my responsibilities? Because those do run in a balance," Rodela said.

She said the direction from the state is to shift standard curriculum more towards real-world application.

"As you watch some of the legislative trends and the trends through the state board of education, there is such an emphasis on making sure that our students walk out the door from our public high schools not just with the academic knowledge they need, but really the real-world knowledge," Rodela said.

This complements the district's "Now You're 18 Program," which includes instruction on financial planning and job readiness.

Rodela said it is another step towards helping educators bridge the gap between the classroom and adulthood. 

"If you begin those conversations, even as freshmen, that doesn't mean we will never address it again. We will continue to keep our Now You're 18 program in place because that addresses a little bit different aspect of those financial responsibilities and legal responsibilities as you turn 18, and naturally, those same questions continue to arise," Rodela said.

Here is the link to the full 16-minute video Texas high school students will be required to watch, starting this school year. 

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