DATE OF INCIDENT: May 20, 2010
A Lewisville (TX) Police Department law enforcement officer appeared on a Lewisville ISD campus and questioned two girls in connection with a claim of criminal mischief. The officer came on campus without the permission of school personnel. Both girls were questioned without the right to counsel and/or an advocate. No rights were read.
The officer claimed that one girl was responsible for driving a vehicle involved with the allegations while the other was a participant.
LISD policy states that all law enforcement personnel must register with the principal or vice principal before interviewing any student while on campus. Neither administrator was on campus at the time nor did the officer make an attempt to inform either administrator of his presence. The officer requested school personnel remove both children from class and bring them into a room for interrogation. No school official was allowed to be present when the officer questioned the girls.
As a matter of record, the vehicle in question was in the shop having repairs done and both girls were in the presence of adults at the time that the alleged incident occurred; neither girl could have been involved in the alleged crime.
This case serves as an example of how law enforcement operates with no boundaries and ignores the rights of children and their parents. State law specifies that school personnel can refuse any unauthorized contact by any person without parental notification with the exception of Child Protective Services. This law should be the strict policy of each school district in the state of Texas. Check with your campus principal to see what school district policy is in this regard. In this case, the school officials violated district policy. Both of the administrators acknowledged the violation and issued an apology to the parents of the children.
As a parent of a child who attends public schools, you should be extremely concerned about this incident. TZT has been made aware of other incidents throughout the state. In this incident, the school district was up front and cooperative with the parents. In most cases involving law enforcement, school officials have been complicit with police in direct violation of school district policies.
It is imperative that you contact your school administrators to find out if they allow police contact with children prior to parental contact. If they do, you need to write a certified letter to your child’s school principal and copy the district’s superintendent making them aware that you do not grant the district permission to allow your child to be questioned by law enforcement without your permission. You must also instruct your child not to answer questions from the principal or law enforcement until you have been contacted and allowed to speak with your child.
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