Who You Gonna Believe?

 “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?” Chico Marx “Duck Soup” 1933

A girl was suspended from school for making a false report because the school could not verify her claims. This despite the fact that the police investigated, confronted the suspect, obtained a confession and arrested him and obtained a conviction for the same act that the school couldn’t prove.


I am not surprised. In the mid 90’s the Sheriff’s gang unit was added to the narcotics task force where I was assigned. The gang unit spent a lot of time dealing with high school students. At about the same time it was becoming stylish for school districts to create their own police forces. Coincidently, I had a friend who worked for the Texas Education Agency (TEA). He was engaged in a project to develop a model curriculum for school district police officers. We decided to field test the model curriculum on the gang officers and narcs.

Armed with the model curriculum I set up a three day in-service training session. I discovered that the model curriculum drafted by (TEA) did not acknowledge the current state of search and seizure law. It did not address minor items like Constitutional Rights, police powers of arrest, seizure and preservation of evidence or the use of force. Digging deeper I discovered TEA never listed the Texas Penal Code, or the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure as source material. Both govern police actions.

I wrote up a critique of the model curriculum. I pointed out that the information contained in it failed to reconcile with Texas law and acceptable police procedures. I don’t know if TEA made any changes. I never heard from TEA again.

I once had a school principal demand that I arrest a student. This despite the fact that I had no usable evidence to support an arrest. I declined, the principal went ahead and suspended the student anyway. Sure, two separate systems of discipline were involved, but there was only one set of facts. Those facts did not support the allegation.