AUSTIN, TX (KXAN) — The Texas Education Agency rolled out curriculum that will be taught to students about how to respond when you get pulled over.
Lawmakers passed a law requiring it after the death of Sandra Bland and the controversial traffic stop that put her in jail.
School districts must show this video and the surrounding curriculum to every student before they graduate high school. It’s up to the local district which class to put it in. AISD is reviewing the new curriculum and tells us every student who started this year as a freshman must see it by the time they graduate.
It’s a situation no one looks forward to, being pulled over. Officer Surei Scanlon from the Austin Police department says the message behind it is a good one.
“We have a job to do. We want to do it fairly and do it safely, number one, and fairly. And be able to talk with them to make sure that they’re ok,” said Officer Scanlon.
In her opinion, there are misconceptions that need to be cleared up.
“That we’re always going to write a ticket. That’s not necessarily the case,” said Officer Scanlon.
The Austin Police Department also tells KXAN you can always ask for a supervisor if you do not like how the officer is treating you while being pulled over.
But while starting a conversation is good, some people – like Chris Harris on the APD oversight working group – hopes that’s not all they see.
“I think it skews much more to what police want you to do exactly vs. what you have the right to do and what your rights are as a citizen in these interactions,” said Harris.
The “good” example given on how to act while being pulled over, received just a warning. He doesn’t want people to think that if they do what the officer wants, they’ll get off. And vice versa.
“It insinuates that people that have negative actions with police are partially to blame for that,” said Harris.
The questions and conversation around his video will largely be decided by your local school staff.
The latest Bureau of Justice Statistics data from 2011- shows more than 40% of face-to-face contact between a person and a police officer happens during a traffic stop.