Civil Rights Groups Call for Ban of Tasers in Texas Schools

HOUSTON – Civil rights groups have requested the Texas Education Agency to ban the use of less-lethal weapons, including Tasers and pepper spray, in all public schools.

A November incident at an Austin, Texas-based school prompted the groups to petition for the ban. A deputy shocked 17-year-old Noe De Rivera with a Taser when responding to a fight in the hall. After being stunned, the teen fell to the floor and hit his head and was in a medically-induced coma for 52 days, Houston Chronicle reports.

De Rivera’s family says he has suffered brain damage.

The ban is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, Disability Rights, Texas, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Texans Care for Children, Texas Appleseed, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

A representative for TEA stated that the organization does not have the authority to prohibit law enforcement personnel from carrying less-lethal weapons. Rather, the School district trustees and the boards of nonprofit corporations granted state charters have that power.

In December, the same organizations asked the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement to ban the use of Tasers at schools. In response, the agency said it did not have the authority to prohibit police in schools from using the devices.

Currently, the Houston Independent School District officers do not use Tasers. Another local school district only allows officers to use less-lethal weapons in violent situation to avoid using a firearm on a student.

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